Media freedom alerts

 

Founder and Chairman of the Iranian GEM TV Company Shot Dead

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Year 03 May 2017 Country Turkey Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 1
03 May 2017 Turkey A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 1
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On 29 April 2017, Saaed Karimian, the founder and chairman of the Persian-language GEM TV company, and his business partner were shot dead in the Maslak neighbourhood in Istanbul by masked individuals who opened fire on their vehicle. The Turkish police opened an investigation. The vehicle and the gun used in the assassination were later found burnt. GEM TV is known for its entertainment satellite channels that dub foreign films and Western television programs into Farsi for Iranians. The TV has been criticised by Iran for “showing programmes that go against Islamic values” and has been accused of spreading Western culture.The TV is officially banned in Iran but is popular inside the country for movies and Turkish TV shows dubbed into Farsi. In 2016, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran tried Karimian in absentia and sentenced him to six years in jail on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” According to his relatives, Mr Karimian had been threatened by the Iranian regime and was planning to move to London over these threats.

Romania to Eliminate Public Broadcast Fee

Update: 02 May 2017 No reply yet
Year 21 Oct 2016 Country Romania Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Alert level Level 2
21 Oct 2016 Romania E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Level 2
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On 17 October 2016, the Romanian Senate approved a draft law to eliminate the monthly TV and radio licence fee and to introduce direct funding of public service media from the state budget. The proposal, initiated by the Social-Democrats leader Liviu Dragnea, has come just a few weeks ahead the general elections. The measure, highly significant for the future of public broadcasting in Romania, was buried in a draft law proposing the elimination of 102 non-fiscal taxes. The draft bill is now to be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies. The Romanian Federation of Culture and Mass-Media FAIR-MediaSind, the Center for Independent Journalism, ActiveWatch and the Convention of Media Organizations are calling the Members of the Parliament to reject the draft bill, which would increase the political dependency of the public broadcaster. The journalists’ organisations in Romania insist that the licence fees are the best way to guarantee the editorial independence of public service media, reducing the risk of political interference. The licence fee represents 67.56% of the incomes for the public television, and 49% for the public radio. The current rate of the TV fee is 0.8 EUR per month, the lowest in Europe, and the radio fee is 0.6 EUR per month. Following a recent study from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the licence fee system is shown to be the most stable, transparent and adaptable way to fund Public Service Media.

Updates

01 Feb 2017 : On 6 January 2017, the President of Romania promulgated the bill on the elimination of over 100 non-fiscal taxes, including the radio-TV licence tax. The law entered into force on 1 February 2017.
26 Oct 2016 : On 25 October 2016, the Lower Chamber of the Romanian Parliament adopted the bill providing for the elimination of over 100 non-fiscal taxes, including the radio-TV licence tax, rejecting the amendments of the special commission which would have seen the radio-TV licence tax remaining in force.

Follow-ups

02 May 2017 : The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights details the prerequisites for well-funded and strong public service media.
15 Dec 2016 : Statement by the participants at the ‘Public Service Media and Democracy’ Conference organized by the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Czech Television and the European Broadcasting Union (10th-11th November 2016, Prague)

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

Attack on Investigative Journalism Workshop

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Year 28 Apr 2017 Country Russian Federation Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner Article 19 , CPJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
28 Apr 2017 Russian Federation A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state Article 19 , CPJ , RSF Level 2
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In the early hours of 27 April 2017, the venue for a workshop on investigative journalism was attacked in Yoshkar-Ola, in the Mari-El Republic, central Russia, by unidentified assailants. At about 2am a window was smashed on the ground floor of a private house being used by the Community of Investigative Journalists, an NGO, for a workshop with local journalists and bloggers. A dead rat was then left outside the window. The previous day, an identified man threw green paint over training organiser and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contributor Galina Sidorova. The incident has been reported to the police. The attack was first reported on social media by Grigory Pasko, the Director of the Community of Investigative Journalists, who has documented a number of attempts to intimidate participating journalists of previous workshops and was himself physically attacked whilst running a workshop in Barnaul in September 2016.

Murder of Azerbaijani Journalist Rasim Aliyev

Update: 26 Apr 2017 State replied
Year 10 Aug 2015 Country Azerbaijan Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
10 Aug 2015 Azerbaijan A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Level 1

Rasim Aliyev, a 30 year old Azerbaijani journalist, died on Sunday 9 August 2015 from injuries sustained in a violent attack carried out on Saturday 8 August by several men in the Bayil neighborhood of Baku. In an interview given to Meydan TV from his hospital bed, Rasim Aliyev indicated that the attack was connected to his criticism of an Azerbaijani football player, including a post published on Facebook accusing the player of unethical behavior. Aliyev, who had worked for the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) prior to its closure due to Government pressure in 2014, had been the subject of previous threats and attacks as a result of his work. Notably, on 25 July 2015, Rasim Aliyev reported on Facebook that he had received threats on social media linked to a series of photos he had posted online showing police brutality and social discontent. Journalist Aliyev reported receiving a threat stating “You will be punished for these photos”. He also filed a complaint with the police about the threat. A picture of a CCTV camera near to Bayli market where Rasim Aliyev was beaten has been circulated by Azerbaijani civil society – indicating that there could be footage of the attack. The Azerbaijani authorities have opened a criminal case under Article 126.3 of the country’s Criminal Code (intentional infliction of bodily harm causing death).

Updates

26 Apr 2017 : On April 26 2017 the remaining individuals connected to the murder of Rasim Aliyev saw their request for appeal rejected by the Court.
12 Oct 2016 : On 12 October 2016 Javid Huseynov was released from jail as a Baku Court upheld his appeal.
31 May 2016 : On 31 May 2016 football player Javid Huseynov was found guilty of failing to warn authorities of the planned attack on Rasim Aliyev and sentenced to four years in jail.
01 Apr 2016 : On 1 April 2016, a Baku court convicted 5 men on sentences from 9 to 13 years in prison finding them guilty of grievous bodily harm causing the death of Rasim Aliyev. Another person charged in the incident is still on trial.

State replies

28 Aug 2015 : Comments of the Government of Azerbaijan

Follow-ups

12 May 2016 : OSCE Representative welcomes convictions for murder of journalist in Azerbaijan
11 Aug 2015 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media condemns killing of journalist in Azerbaijan, calls on President Aliyev to ensure safety of journalists and free media
10 Aug 2015 : Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland condemns attack on Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev

Judge Attempts to Censor "Footballleaks" Inquiry

Update: 26 Apr 2017 No reply yet
Year 06 Dec 2016 Country Spain Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
06 Dec 2016 Spain C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Level 2
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Madrid Judge Arturo Zamarriego has sought the cooperation of justice systems across Europe in his request to prohibit any publications about the international journalistic inquiry named “Footballleaks” concerning severe tax evasion in professional football. The request targets the twelve media outlets which are members of the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium. After seven months of investigation and having analysed 18.6 million documents, journalists from the German daily newspaper “Der Spiegel” and their colleagues from the European Investigative Collaborations consortium (of which “El Mundo” is a member), uncovered the widest tax evasion scandal in the history of European professional football, publishing it in their editions of 2nd December 2016. The daily newspaper “El Mundo” announced Judge Arturo Zamarriego’s decision to ban the publishing of the results of the Footballleaks inquiry, going as far as threatening the director of the newspaper, Pedro G. Cuartango, with a five year prison sentence. Judicial proceedings were initiated on 29th November 2016 by the law firm Senn Ferrero Asociados Sport & Entertainment, which is known for having advised many stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo on fiscal matters. “El Mundo” refused to give in to pressure by lodging a complaint and by publishing, as planned, the first part of the inquiry on 3rd December 2016. On the 5th December, it was revealed that the request for a ban on publishing was not only applicable to “El Mundo” but to all of the media partners of the consortium. The judge considers that the revelations of the consortium constitute an invasion of the private nature of the communications of the complainants (article 197.1 of the Spanish criminal code). Zamarriego has suggested that the information about personal and fiscal data used by the consortium may have been acquired through illegal means, which the consortium denies. The judge ordered “the prohibition of the publication of confidential data of a personal, financial or legal nature […] of the clients of Senn Ferrero".

Updates

26 Apr 2017 : On 26 April 2017, Judge Zamarriego allowed law firm Senn Ferrero to file proceedings against the director of El Mundo Pedro García Cuartango, the president of Unidad Editorial, Antonio Fernández Galiano and three news editors - Javier Sánchez, Paula Guisado and Quico Alsedo. They are being charged with disclosure of company secrets and disobedience against authority.

Follow-ups

06 Dec 2016 : OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media says in a statement: "Court ruling in Spain ordering El Mundo newspaper not to publish story is a threat to investigative journalism"

Investigative Journalist Dies Following Two Brutal Assaults

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Year 20 Apr 2017 Country Russian Federation Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Index , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI Alert level Level 1
20 Apr 2017 Russian Federation A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown Index , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI Level 1
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Nikolay Andruschenko, founder and investigative correspondent for weekly newspaper Novyi Petersburg died on 19 April 2017 as a result of injuries. According to the director of Novyi Peterburg, Alevtina Ageyeva, the journalist was assaulted twice in March 2017. Two unknown individuals approached him near his house and demanded he give them documents and materials from his on-going investigation on the abuse of power by police officers. After the journalist refused, they hit him several times in the head and ran away. The last assault occurred on the evening of 9 March. The journalist was found unconscious with a brain injury near his apartment. An investigation was started by the police. Ageyeva said she doubted the police would properly investigate the case as Andruschenko conducted investigations into corruption, abuse of power and torture by the St Petersburg’s police. She is convinced both assaults are related to Andruschenko’s professional journalist activity. Andruschenko’s wife stressed nothing was stolen from the journalist during the assault.

Temporary Closure of Azerbaijani TV Channel

Update: 19 Apr 2017 No reply yet
Year 20 Jul 2016 Country Azerbaijan Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
20 Jul 2016 Azerbaijan E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2
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On 19 July 2016, Azerbaijan’s National Television and Radio Council ordered the temporary closure of ANS TV, a pro-government private television channel. The order was in response to the channel’s plans to broadcast an interview with Turkish Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, of organising the failed coup attempt that took place in Turkey on 15 July 2016. The channel will be shut for at least one month. Gülen denies all involvement in the coup. In an official statement, the National Television and Radio Council stated that the decision was made further to an appeal by the General Prosecutor on 18 July 2016. Its actions are in accordance with Article 11 of the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, which empowers the Council to take measures to prevent the propaganda of terrorism, violence, cruelty, discrimination on ethnic, racial and religious grounds. The Council justified its decision on the grounds of “avoiding provocations aimed at damaging the strategic partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan and to prevent obvious promotion of terrorism “. Radio Free Europe has reported that the Turkish Embassy in Baku had expressed “deep concern” about the proposed broadcasting. The National Council has also filed a lawsuit to the court demanding the withdrawal of ANS TV channel’s license, on the basis that the channel has violated provisions and conditions of the license (article 11.4.4. of Broadcasting Law) that prohibit “propaganda of terrorism, violence, cruelty” (article 32.0.5) and “incitement to mass unrest and terrorism” (article 23.2.5.). The head of the National Council said that the future of “ANS Broadcasting Media Company” is now in the competence of the judicial authorities.

Updates

19 Apr 2017 : On 19 April 2017 the Supreme Court rejected the appeals filed by ANS TV against the termination of its TV and Radio activities.
29 Jul 2016 : On 29 July 2016 the broadcasting licence of ANS TV was officially revoked. The company filed a cassation appeal.

Chechen Official and Preachers Threaten Novaya Gazeta Journalists

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Year 18 Apr 2017 Country Russian Federation Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
18 Apr 2017 Russian Federation C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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Novaya Gazeta issued a statement on 13 April 2017, saying it feared for the safety of its reporters after Adam Shahidov, an advisor to the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, and Muslim preachers accused the newspaper of defamation and threatened retaliation at a large gathering in a mosque in central Grozny. Novaya Gazeta earlier this month published investigative articles reporting that more than 100 men whom authorities suspected of homosexual acts were rounded up and tortured in secret prisons in the North Caucasus republic. At least three men were killed, according to Novaya Gazeta. At the 3 April 2017, gathering of some 15,000 men, Shahidov called the Novaya Gazeta journalists "enemies of our faith and our motherland" and promised "vengeance." The resolution adopted at the gathering included a "promise that retribution will catch up with the hatemongers wherever and whoever they are, without a statute of limitations," according to Novaya Gazeta, which said in its statement that it was "obvious that the resolution will encourage religious fanatics to retaliate against our journalists." Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General's office on 8 April 2017. A Novaya Gazeta journalist who has conducted an investigation and reported on Chechen gays' rights violation has fled Russia.

Twelve Years of Impunity in the Case of the Murder of Elmar Huseynov

Update: 13 Apr 2017 No reply yet
Year 03 Mar 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category D. Impunity Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
03 Mar 2017 Azerbaijan D. Impunity State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , IPI Level 1
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On 2 March 2005, Elmar Huseynov, an Azerbaijani journalist working for Monitor magazine, was gunned down in front of his apartment in Baku following a planned attack. The journalist had received many threats related to his work before the killing actually took place. In April 2005, Azerbaijani investigators announced the identification of six Georgian suspects related to this murder, which was requalified from "premeditated murder" to an "act of terrorism" aiming to destabilise the country. Although President Ilham Aliyev promised to find and to punish the mastermind behind the murder of the journalist, twelve years later, the authorities have not been able to bring anyone to justice for this case.

Updates

13 Apr 2017 : On 13 April 2017, the ECHR delivered its judgment in the case Huseynova v. Azerbaijan, finding violation of Article 2 (right to life/investigation).

Two Journalists Harassed by Far-Right Wing Protesters

Update: 07 Apr 2017 State replied
Year 07 Apr 2017 Country Greece Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
07 Apr 2017 Greece C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

On 20 February 2017, two journalists were harassed by far-right wing protesters while reporting live in Thessaloniki, Greece. Maria Travlou, who works for the public broadcaster ERT3, and Eleni Latrou, for the private station Skai TV, were insulted and stopped from doing their job by some men and women part of the so-called "Patriots' Organisation" demonstrating outside a school. They were preventing refugee children from attending classes. The protesters covered the camera lens with their hands and shouted at the journalists, ordering them to leave the place. The anchor decided to stop broadcasting the scene after a few minutes.

State replies

07 Apr 2017 : Reply from the Greek authorities (Ministry of Justice)

Russia: News Crew Attacked Trying to Film Protests in Krasnodar Region

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Year 30 Mar 2017 Country Russian Federation Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
30 Mar 2017 Russian Federation A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1
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On 28 March 2017, two journalists working for RFE/RL were physically attacked and robbed in the town of Kropotkin in the Krasnodar Region (southern Russia). They had arrived to cover the second “tractor march” protest. A group of young men wearing masks and carrying pepper spray attacked journalist Sergey Khazov-Cassia and cameraman Andrei Kostyanov as they were leaving their hotel in the morning. Kostyanov was taken to hospital and was left with broken ribs. The assailants also stole a laptop and the journalists' camera equipment. Some of the equipment was subsequently anonymously returned to the journalists. The attack was reported to the police, and the District Police have stated that they have opened an investigation. According to a post by Khazov-Cassia on Facebook, the police had visited the journalists twice at their hotel prior to the attack occurring. The reasons for the police visit are unclear.

Chief Editor Anne Brumagne Dismissed for Criticizing a Restructuring Plan that Puts Business above Journalism

Update: 28 Mar 2017 Resolved
Year 22 Jun 2015 Country Belgium Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
22 Jun 2015 Belgium C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

In Belgium, the regional Flemish government partly finances some independent news outlets focusing on local issues (including the free weekly “Brussels deze Week”) through the non-profit organisation Vlaams-Brusselse Media (VBM). The new CEO of VBM, Michel Tubbax, launched a restructuring plan that focused on business, marketing and advertising to the detriment of journalism. Anne Brumagne, chief editor of the free weekly “Brussel deze Week”, was dismissed in June 2015, after having criticised the lack of involvement of journalists in the internal decision process. The decision was taken in the absence of any editorial charter regulating journalists’ ethics and protecting the independence of the newsroom. Anne Brumagne had insisted on the necessity of such a charter. In the meantime, the restructuring plan has been partly postponed, and the CEO has been dismissed. But Anne Brumagne has not been reinstated in her job.

Resolved Given that an agreement settling the dispute was reached between Anne Brumagne and VBM, on 28 March 2017, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

State replies

Legal Intimidation Targeting Mass Media Defense Centre in Russia

Update: 22 Mar 2017 No reply yet
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Russian Federation Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
02 Apr 2015 Russian Federation E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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On 2 March 2015 Voronezh-based Mass Media Defense Centre (MMDC), Russia’s leading expert organisation in media law, became the latest target of the Russian law on “foreign agents”. Its director, Galina Arapova, was accused of administrative violation for failing to register her NGO as a “foreign agent”. The Voronezh regional department of the Ministry of Justice stated that MMDC is funded by foreign organisations (including the European commission) and performs "obvious political activity". Arapova’s public statements concerning freedom of speech and the need for protection of journalists were described as “political”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Russian affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), are deeply concerned by these new threats against the MMDC, which is the only Russian NGO specializing in media law, as well as providing legal assistance and protecting media rights on a daily basis.

Updates

22 Mar 2017 : On 22 March 2017 the European Court of Human Rights communicated the case.
30 Nov 2015 : On 30 November 2015, the Centre’s complaint against the decision of the Court was rejected.
15 Apr 2015 : On 15 April 2015 a first instance Court in Voronezh fined the Mass Media Defense Centre 300.000 rubles for not registering voluntarily as a foreign agent.

FSB Detains Independent Journalists in Svetogorsk

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Year 20 Mar 2017 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
20 Mar 2017 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , RSF Level 1
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On 7 March, 2017 officers from the Russian Security Service (FSB) detained journalists for the Moscow-based independent news magazine Snob-Igor Zalyubovin, a reporter, and Vladimir Yarotsky, a photographer- in the building where the journalists had rented an apartment to report on the daily life in the city of Svetogorsk, Snob said in a statement. The article was planned as a response to Svetogorsk's Mayor's claim that there were no homosexuals in the city, and that it was a "city without sin," according to press reports. FSB officers took Zalyubovin and Yarotsky to a nearby detention centre, where they were charged with crossing into a border zone without permission. They were later released and ordered to leave Svetogorsk, according to their employer. It was the second time in as many days that journalists were detained and prevented from reporting from the city. Yevgeniya Zobnina, a correspondent for the Moscow-based independent television channel Dozhd TV, traveled with rights activists to the city on March 6, also to follow up on the Mayor's claims, according to press reports. Zobnina planned to report on a meeting the activists sought with the Mayor, Dozhd TV reported. Instead, FSB agents took Zobnina and the four activists to a local police station for questioning. The officers asked the journalist why she was doing the report, and for whom, before issuing the group a warning for crossing into a border zone without permission and releasing them, Dozhd TV reported. On 7 March, the Committee to Protect Journalists made a statement saying Russian security services should stop harassing and obstructing journalists and should allow them to work unimpeded. Svetogorsk is a town of 15,000 people, located roughly 200 kilometers from St. Petersburg and one kilometer away from the border with Finland. To visit requires either a Schengen visa to enter via Finland, an invitation from a local resident, or a special permit from the FSB, according to 2014 legislation. On 7 March 2017, Snob’s editor-in-chief, Yegor Mostovshikov, told the news website Meduza that his outlet did not apply for a permit from the FSB “because it takes up to 30 days to get it.”

Three Media Staff Assaulted at Pegida Rally

Update: 16 Mar 2017 Resolved
Year 26 Oct 2015 Country Germany Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 1
26 Oct 2015 Germany A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 1

On 25 October 2015, two journalists and a media worker were assaulted in Dresden while covering a large rally held by Pegida, a right-wing movement which is also anti-immigration in Germany. The rally was held to mark Pegida’s first anniversary. Jaafar Abdul Karim, a journalist for German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, was surrounded by demonstrators who yelled racial slurs at him and blocked his camera. One demonstrator also hit him. The German Journalists' Association (DJV) reported that the demonstrator who assaulted Karim was not arrested by police because other demonstrators claimed there were no witnesses and that Karim was lying. Another reporter, cameraman Jose Sequeira for Russian TV station Ruptly, had his equipment thrown to the ground by demonstrators, who then attacked him and hit him on the back and the neck. Equipment from German public radio station Deutschlandradio was damaged and one of their employees was assaulted by a drunk protester, who accused the media of bias against Pegida.

Resolved The investigation has yet to be completed. On the basis of a criminal complaint filed by Deutsche Welle, this matter is being dealt with by the state security department of the Dresden District Police headquarters, working on behalf of the Dresden Public Prosecution Office. On 16 March 2017, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

State replies

12 Nov 2015 : Response of the German Government (Ministry of the Interior of the Free State of Saxony)

Brutal Physical Attack on Freelancer Željko Peratović

Update: 16 Mar 2017 No reply yet
Year 18 Jun 2015 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
18 Jun 2015 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ Level 1
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Croatian freelance journalist Željko Peratović, chief editor of 45lines.com website, was beaten up by three unidentified assailants at his home in Luka Pokupska, near Karlovac, on 28 May, 2015. The attack was condemned by the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), the EFJ and the IFJ, which demanded that the case be investigated as a criminal offence. Peratović, the winner of this year’s HND award for investigative journalism, believed the attack was prompted by his articles about the ongoing trial in Munich of Yugoslav-era senior security official Josip Perković.

Updates

16 Mar 2017 : On 16 March 2017 the trial against Peratović`s three assailants began at the Zagreb Municipal Court.
05 Feb 2016 : In February 2016 the Karlovac county prosecutor closed the murder attempt investigation for lack of evidence, and opened an investigation against the three attackers for attempted grievous bodily harm, home invasion and material damage. Feeling insecure in Croatia, Željko Peratović decided to move to Switzerland.
06 Aug 2015 : Three people who allegedly physically attacked Croatian investigative journalist Zeljko Peratovic in May 2015 will be investigated for attempted murder.

Follow-ups

13 May 2016 : Following his visit to Croatia, the Commissioner for human rights expresses his concern about the inadequate response by the authorities to the reported cases of physical attacks, death threats and intimidation against journalists.

TV Journalist Eni Shehu Attacked by the Director of the National Theatre

Update: 16 Mar 2017 Resolved
Year 18 Jan 2016 Country Albania Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
18 Jan 2016 Albania A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 2

The Association of Professional Journalists in Albania and the Union of Journalists of Albania condemn the reported attack by Hervin Çuli, the director of the National Theater, on television journalist Eni Shehu on 15 January 2016. The unprovoked attack occurred during the premiere of a play at the National Theater, which the victim and other journalists were invited to attend. Shehu, who suffered minor injuries during the attack, reported the incident to the police. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the Association of Professional Journalists in Albania and the Union of Journalists of Albania condemning the attack of a television journalist.

Resolved Taking into account the thorough investigations and response of the Albanian authorities to this case, on 16 March 2017, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

State replies

Albanian Journalist Elvi Fundo Attacked in Tirana

Update: 14 Mar 2017 State replied
Year 10 Mar 2017 Country Albania Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
10 Mar 2017 Albania A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1

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.

State replies

Follow-ups

10 Mar 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative condemns beating of journalist in Albania, urges quick investigation

Azerbaijan Arrested Prominent Journalist Rauf Mirkadyrov for Espionage

Update: 10 Mar 2017 No reply yet
Year 19 May 2015 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
19 May 2015 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 1
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Rauf Mirkadyrov is a well-known columnist of the independent Russian-language newspaper “Zerkalo”. On 9 April 2014, Mirkadyrov was arrested in Baku by Azerbaijan's national security service, the MNB, and charged with espionage. He was deported back to Azerbaijan from Turkey, where he was based for three years. The Azerbaijani prosecutor-general's office accused him of meeting with Armenian security services and handing them state secrets. The journalist denies the allegations, considering them as absurd and politically motivated. He often criticised both Turkish and Azerbaijani authorities for human rights abuses. On November 20, 2014, a day after the term of arrest expired, the Nasimi Court Judge unlawfully extended Mirkadyrov’s arrest for a further five months. The case is now submitted to the European Court of Human Rights: the complaint to the ECHR raises the question on the violation of Mirkadyrov’s right to freedom and security of person and a fair trial, guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Updates

10 Mar 2017 : On 10 March 2017 Mirkadyrov was granted the status of political refugee in Switzerland, where he had been living since September 2016.
17 Mar 2016 : On 17 March 2016, journalist Rauf Mirkadyrov was released on probation by the Baku Court of Appeal.
30 Dec 2015 : On 28 December 2015, the Baku Serious Crimes Court sentenced Rauf Mirkadyrov, an independent journalist who was the co-founder of the opposition newspaper Bizim Yol in Azerbaijan, to six year of imprisonment on trumped-up charges of spying. Mirkadyrov covered the Nagorno-Karabakh region and participated in various projects aimed at fostering dialogue among civil society groups and finding a solution to a stalemate that has endured since 1994. Based in Turkey for the previous three years, he was arbitrarily stripped of his residence permit and deported on 18 April 2014 to Azerbaijan, where he was arrested on arrival.
21 Oct 2015 : The criminal case against the journalist Rauf Mirkadyrov accused of high treason has been sent to the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.

Republika Srpska President’s Office Bars Access for Selected Media

Update: 07 Mar 2017 No reply yet Progress
Year 23 Jan 2017 Country Bosnia and Herzegovina Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
23 Jan 2017 Bosnia and Herzegovina E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 2
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On 18 January 2017, a TV news team from N1 Television was prevented by officials from attending and reporting on a press conference in Banja Luka by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik. The reason given was that N1 did not have accreditation to enter the Palace of RS, the press conference venue. N1 TV was also removed from the mailing list of the President’s office, meaning that the company no longer receives any official notices, information or permission to access locations as necessary to report on the activities of the RS President. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalists Association (BHJA) and Free Media Help Line denounced these actions as unreasonable discrimination against a media enterprise which is known for its critical coverage. Beta news agency’s correspondent Ljiljana Kovacevic and employees of BN Television have also suffered bans which have blocked those news organisations from being able to report freely on the activities of Mr Dodik.

Progress In February 2017, the Presidency of the Republika Srpska re-approved access for journalists of BN Television. The case of Ljiljana Kovacevic from Beta news agency, denied accreditation and access since 2012, remains outstanding. Two requests for information on her case remain without reply.

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