Media freedom alerts

 

Personal Details of Thousands of Journalists Posted on Ukrainian Website over Accreditation with Rebels

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 12 May 2016 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
12 May 2016 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Level 2

A Ukrainian organisation called the “Research centre of elements of crimes against national security (Myrotvorets)” has published on its website thousands of personal details of journalists who it claims have accreditation with rebels movements in the east of the country. The details include names, employers, emails addresses and mobiles phone numbers of over 4000 journalists, including 36 Ukrainians and foreign. The publication of this data has been condemned by Ukrainian journalists who consider this as an attempt to intimidate journalists from seeking access to rebel-held areas in Ukraine for fear of being accused of treason or facing mob violence in the country.

State replies

17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 May 2016 : The Secretary General writes to the President of Ukraine.
12 May 2016 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media expresses concern about journalists’ safety in Ukraine

The National Radio and TV Council of Ukraine Bans Broadcast of Russian TV Channel Dozhd

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 13 Jan 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
13 Jan 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 12 January 2017, the National Radio and TV Council (NRTC) of Ukraine voted unanimously to cease the retransmission of the Russian TV Channel Dozhd (Rain) within a month, following TV reports showing Crimea as part of Russia. NRTC member Serhiy Kostynsky said that Dozhd's depictions of Crimea as a Russian republic had spurred the decision, but that the station had also repeatedly violated Ukrainian advertising laws throughout 2016. Dozhd Director Natalya Sindeyeva explained that Russian law requires the use of maps that indicate Russia’s possession of Crimea. She also claims that the channel had not received any official notice of non-compliance from the Ukrainian authorities. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović qualified on Twitter the ban as “very damaging for media pluralism in Ukraine”.

State replies

17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 Jan 2017 : OSCE Freedom of the Media Reprensentative describes decision of NacRada to stop broadcasting of DozhdTV as very demaging for media pluralism in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Local Newspaper Raided, Office Sealed by the Representatives of the Local Authorities in Kivertsy

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 19 Sep 2016 Country Ukraine Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 2
19 Sep 2016 Ukraine C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 2

The office of the Ukrainian local newspaper “Vilnym Shliakhom” (Free Way) based in Kivertsy, Volyn oblast, was raided and its office sealed by the representatives of the local council in the morning of 8 September 2016, without a Court judgment or a decision of the State Execution service. The doors of the office were broken, locks were changed and the newspaper’s premises were sealed by the local representatives, who claimed to be acting on the “decision of the local council”. The police officers on the spot failed to intervene. The editor of the newspaper was changed and the Charter modified by the head of the Kivertsy district council without the agreement of the staff (who co-own the newspaper alongside the council). The raid is only the latest action in the long-standing row between the Kivertsy district authorities and the newspaper over the privatisation process, launched by the newspaper following the adoption in Ukraine of the law on “reforming the state and communal printed media”. The staff of “Vilnym Shliakhom” announced an indefinite strike starting on 19 September, over the “illegal actions of the local government”, inaction of the local enforcement structures and the inability to resolve the conflict with the district council. The Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine condemned the attack and denounced it as an attempt to stop the privatisation. International journalists organisations appealed to the Ukrainian President, as the guarantor of the Constitution, to stop attacks which undermine media freedom. They requested using all possible means to resolve the conflict - negotiations, reconciliation commission, appeals to the Prosecutor General and the Head of the National Police of Ukraine – in order to avoid the strike.

State replies

17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Journalists Beaten by Security Guards and Local Police in Kharkiv

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

On 12 November 2016, in Kharkiv, two journalists from Stop Corruption news website and a journalist from apravda.com news website were threatened and beaten by four security guards and three policemen, in “French Boulevard” shopping mall. The journalists were investigating the ceiling collapse of the shopping center. Journalist Sergei Medyanik said he was threatened with guns, enchained and beaten in the basement of the mall. He said perpetrators attempted to rape his colleague, stole their money and broke their smartphones. The incidents were reported to the local authorities.

State replies

17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Harassment of Journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andrievska in Crimea, Ukraine by Russian Officials

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
02 Apr 2015 Ukraine C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

On 6 March 2015, agents from the FSB, the Russian secret services, searched the homes of parents of journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andrievska in the Crimea peninsula, according to reports. On the same day, Ms Kokorina was detained and initially refused access to her lawyer. She was finally freed after six hours of detention for which no reason was given. A computer belonging to the father of Anna Andrievska was taken away. Anna, a board member of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU), has been charged with anti-state activities. The charges are based on an article published in December 2014, which authorities claimed “aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation”. If found guilty, she faces up to five years in prison. The two journalists worked for the news portal of the Crimean Centre for Investigative Journalism. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia last year, the center, initially based in Simferopol, was forced to relocate to Kyiv after its staff was subjected to attacks, harassment and legal restrictions by the authorities. Andrievska moved to Kyiv in early May 2014 but her family stayed in Crimea.

State replies

16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Pro-Russia Journalist, Oles Buzyna, Gunned Down in Kyiv, Ukraine

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 29 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
29 Apr 2015 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ Level 1

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), have condemned the murder of journalist Oles Buzyna, who was gunned down on 16 April 2015 in Kyiv. Both Federations have demanded an immediate and independent investigation into his death. According to media reports, the Department of Public Relations Research Affairs of Ukraine in Kyiv reported that Buzyna was shot dead at around 12:20 (CEST) in Shevchenko district, near his house. The Interior Ministry, Anton Herashchenko, claimed that the gunmen escaped in a dark blue Ford Focus car with a foreign license plate. Buzyna was a controversial figure in Kyiv as a journalist, TV presenter and former editor-in-chief of the Russian language Kyiv-based newspaper Segodnia. He was known for his pro-Russia views and was a key witness in a criminal case related to a pro-Russia rally in Kyiv. In 2012, Buzyna stood for Parliament on the Party of the Regions’ ticket.

State replies

16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

16 Apr 2015 : Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland: 'Attacks on journalists are unacceptable, whether in conflict or peace. Killing of Oles Buzyna in Ukraine must be fully investigated.'

Continuing Impunity in the Killing of the Ukrainian Investigative Journalist Georgiy Gongadze

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine D. Impunity Unknown EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1

Following the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the EFJ, IFJ, Index on Censorship, AEJ, RSF and CPJ submit an alert to the Council of Europe concerning the continuing impunity surrounding the kidnapping and killing in Ukraine of the investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze. On 16 September 2000, the journalist disappeared; his beheaded body was found six weeks later. Georgiy Gongadze had been investigating corruption within the Government and in the Presidency of the then President Kuchma. In the months leading to his death, Gongadze reported that he was under surveillance and had been receiving threats. After years of investigations, four former officers of the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) were convicted, but no one was sentenced for ordering and instigating his killing. Over the last 16 years, the lack of an effective investigation into Georgiy Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder has had a heavy impact on the Ukrainian society and on the journalistic community at large. The partner organisations of the CoE Platform call on the Ukrainian authorities to confirm their commitment to the freedom of press, by bringing all those responsible for the death of Georgiy Gongadze to justice.

State replies

16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

15 Nov 2016 : Murder of Gongadze must be fully investigated, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media says, calls on authorities in Ukraine to end climate of impunity.

Turkish Government Shuts Down 15 Pro-Kurdish Media Outlets

Update: 15 Feb 2017 No reply yet
Year 02 Nov 2016 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
02 Nov 2016 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Level 2
No reply yet

On Saturday 29 October 2016, the Turkish government issued two decrees (No 675 and 676) shutting down 15 pro-Kurdish media outlets. 11 newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines are affected: • Newspapers: Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Batman Çağdaş , Cizre Postası , Güney Express, İdil Haber, Kızıltepe’nin Sesi, Prestij Haber, Urfanatik and Yüksekova Haber; • News agencies: Dicle News Agency (DİHA) and Jin News Agency; • Magazines: Tiroji, Özgürlük Dünyası and arts and culture magazine Evrensel Kültür. The latest closures bring the number of media outlets shut down in Turkey to 168 under state of emergency, a situation which allows the government to close any media organisation by issuing a cabinet decree.

Follow-ups

15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016 : Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey

Turkey: Two Journalists Detained under State of Emergency Provisions

Update: 15 Feb 2017 No reply yet
Year 07 Sep 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
07 Sep 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 1
No reply yet

Journalists Cemil Uğur and Halil İbrahim Polat have been detained for over two weeks, under 'State of Emergency' provisions in Turkey. The journalists, who work for the daily newspaper Evrensel, were detained on 23 August in the province of Mersin, Turkey. The journalists were covering a Kurdish demonstration at the time of their arrest. According to Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD), the journalists have not been allowed family visits and, despite repeated efforts to obtain information, their families still have no clear understanding about the journalists’ situation and official charges have not yet been issued. The Mersin Police Chief reportedly refused to provide information on their situation. Furthermore, the journalists’ lawyer stated that they have been "exposed to insults and threats in prison.”

Updates

18 Oct 2016 : On 6 October 2016, Evrensel’s Mersin correspondent Cemil Uğur appeared before a Mersin Criminal Judicature of Peace. The court ordered his arrest on charges of being a member of an [illegal organization] and of making propaganda on behalf of an [illegal] organization. On October 11, Evrensel reporter Halil İbrahim Polat appeared before a Mersin Criminal Judicature of Peace, following a prosecutor’s objection to his release. He was released by the court on the same day after his interrogation.
08 Sep 2016 : On 8 September 2016, following a 16-day detention, Evrensel reporters Cemil Uğur and Halil İbrahim have been released on probation.

Follow-ups

15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

Forced Closure of Crimean Tatar-Language Media Outlets

Update: 15 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 01 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
01 Apr 2015 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ Level 2

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Russian authorities passed a law obliging media outlets there to register with Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulator, by 1 April 2015, imposing severe penalties for those continuing to broadcast without registration. Despite submitting several applications, most Crimean Tatar-language media outlets have not received licenses. Those affected include ATR, a media holding that broadcasts the only Crimean Tatar-language TV channel; ATR’s affiliates, FM radio stations Meydan and Lider, a children's television channel Lale and a news website 15 Minutes; Crimean Tatar news agency QHA; and Crimean-language newspapers Avdet and Yildiz. ATR and its affiliates stopped broadcasting after not receiving licenses by the 1st April deadline; QHA has announced it will move to Kyiv; the editor of Avdet will continue publishing, despite risking arrest. ATR has previously been harassed by Russian authorities - it was cautioned for ‘extremist content’, and a group of unidentified forces raided its newsroom in January 2015, detaining staff, confiscating equipment and shutting down analogue broadcasting during the raid. Many Crimean Tatars fear the shutdown of these outlets signals a renewal of persecution.

State replies

15 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

02 Apr 2015 : Commissioner Muižnieks calls for unhindered broadcasting of ATR TV
02 Apr 2015 : Thorbjørn Jagland urges Crimean Tatar TV station to continue

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

Turkish Emergency Decree Shuts Down 9 Media Outlets

Update: 15 Feb 2017 No reply yet
Year 01 Dec 2016 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
01 Dec 2016 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , Index , RSF Level 2
No reply yet

On 22 November 2016, the Turkish Government issued a new decree ordering the closure of nine more local media outlets, bringing the total number of media outlets and printing houses closed in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15 to 176. According to State Emergency Decree No. 677, 375 civil society organisations and nine media outlets have been closed down for alleged “membership in terrorist organizations or organizations [or] groups that were listed by the National Security Council as acting against the security of the state.” The closed newspapers are: Ekspres daily (Adana), Türkiye Manşet daily (Çorum), Dağyeli daily (Hatay), Akis daily (Kütahya), İpekyolu daily (Ordu), Son Dakika daily (İzmir) and Yedigün daily (Ankara). Habereksen Magazine issued in Samsun and Batman FM radio were also closed down.

Follow-ups

15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

At least Twenty TV and Radio Channels Removed from Türksat, the National Satellite Operator

Update: 15 Feb 2017 No reply yet
Year 30 Sep 2016 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 2
30 Sep 2016 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 2
No reply yet

On 28 September 2016, the Turkish national satellite operator Türksat, the only communications satellite operator in Turkey, pulled the signal of twelve TV channels in Turkey - including IMC TV, Hayatın Sesi, Azadi TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, TV 10, Denge TV and Zarok TV as well as a number of radio channels. An official at the Radio and Television Supreme Council, the state watchdog, confirmed that twenty stations were being closed. This administrative decision of Türksat, which undermines the public’s right to access information, was done on a direct order from the Government, which cited charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “national security” as reasons for this shutdown.

Follow-ups

15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

Proposal Set To Increase Prison Sentences For Leaking Official Documents

No reply yet
Year 14 Feb 2017 Country United Kingdom Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 2
14 Feb 2017 United Kingdom E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 2
No reply yet

On 2 February 2017, the UK Law Commission responded to a government request for draft recommendations to overhaul and update the Official Secrets Act by submitting proposals which could lead to journalists and whistleblowers being jailed up to 14 years, instead of up to two years as at present, for leaking official documents. The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists for “obtaining sensitive information”, as well as “passing it on”. The Law Commission, which was set up by parliament to review legislation and make recommendations for reforms, also proposed that the scope of the law should be expanded to include offences committed by people other than British nationals. The public can respond and make comments on the recommendations until 3 April. The National Union of Journalists' (NUJ) General secretary Michelle Stanistreet denounced the attempt by the UK government to curtail the media.

Ukrainian Journalist Maria Varfolomeyeva Held for over a Year in Eastern Ukraine

Update: 14 Feb 2017 Resolved
Year 21 Jan 2016 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
21 Jan 2016 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , RSF Level 1

Maria Varfolomeyeva, a Ukrainian journalist and media fixer who worked for Svobodny Reporter website and VostokMedia outlets, was arrested on 15 January 2015 by forces loyal to the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) on allegations of spying for the Ukrainian Army and the Right Sector (the Ukrainian nationalist movement). Varfolomeyeva was detained after taking pictures of a block of buildings in a residential area of Luhansk and has remained in detention since, facing potentially a 15- year jail sentence.

Resolved On 3 March 2016, Ms Varfolomeyeva was released from captivity. On 13 September 2016, 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

14 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Arson Attack on Ukrainian Broadcaster Inter TV

Update: 14 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 04 Sep 2016 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
04 Sep 2016 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

The Kyiv headquarters of Inter-TV, a private Ukrainian broadcaster, were set on fire on 4 September 2016, as a group of approximately 20 men staged a rally outside it, protesting against the channel’s alleged pro-Kremlin policy. According to a police official, a smoke bomb was thrown into the building causing a fire on the first and second floors. At least 30 people were evacuated. The channel has reported that many suffered from smoke inhalation and one journalist was injured while escaping from the fire. Inter TV channel has previously been the victim of four violent attacks in 2016. Following the arson attack, from 9 a.m. on 5 September 2016, a group of around 50 protesters blocked Inter TV channel employees from entering the premises, stating that the blockade would continue until the pro-Russian channel stops broadcasting. On 6 September the channel reported that they still could not enter the premises. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has described the arson attack as an attempt to destabilise the country, and has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident by the Prosecutor General’s Office. Local authorities reported that six people have been arrested in connection with the arson.

State replies

14 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

07 Sep 2016 : CoE Spokesperson: We call on the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the attacks on Inter TV and its employees
07 Sep 2016 : CoE Spokesperson: Ukraine - we underline the obligation to ensure media freedom
07 Sep 2016 : OSCE Media Freedom Representative: Disagreement with editorial line cannot result in violence against media; safety of journalists in Ukraine must be ensured, says OSCE Representative

Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Kotsaba Held for Nearly a Year over Allegations of ‘Treason and Obstructing the Military’

Update: 14 Feb 2017 Resolved
Year 21 Jan 2016 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
21 Jan 2016 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 1

Ruslan Kotsaba, a Ukrainian journalist and blogger, was arrested on 7 February 2015 after posting a video addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in which he voiced criticism for the mobilisation campaign conducted in the country and called on his fellow citizens to boycott it Amnesty international has declared Kotsaba a “prisoner of conscience” 34 members of the European Parliament signed, in December 2015, a letter condemning the arrest of the journalist “simply for doing his work” and calling for the immediate release of Ruslan Kotsaba. The European Parliament will hold a hearing in Brussels on 26 January to discuss his case.

Resolved The court of appeal of the Ukrainian region of Ivano-Frankivsk dropped criminal charges against Ruslan Kotsaba over lack of evidence and quashed his 3.5-year sentence for supposed obstruction of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He was released in the courtroom, on 14 July 2016, after over 18 months held in detention. On 10 October 2016, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved", concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

15 Jul 2016 : On 14 July 2016, jailed Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Kotsaba was acquitted. The Appeal Court decided to close the criminal proceedings against him on the basis of lack of evidence. The Court immediately released him.

State replies

14 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Forced Closure of Turkey TV channels ON4 and Kanal12

No reply yet
Year 10 Feb 2017 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
10 Feb 2017 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Level 2
No reply yet

On 23 January 2017, two more Turkish TV channels, ON4 and KANAL 12, were closed down by order of the government. The forced closures were reportedly effected under emergency decrees numbers 682, 683, 684 and 685. An immediate protest was issued by the Journalists Support Committee of the Campaign for Freedom in Journalism and Broadcasting, which called on the government to rescind the order and permit the channels to resume broadcasting. The authors of that protest declared the closure orders a clear violation of articles 26 and 27 of the Turkish constitution, and of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to the Journalists Support Committee of the Campaign for Freedom in Journalism and Broadcasting, these two closures increase to 151 the total number of media outlets closed down by government intervention since the enactment of the state of emergency laws in Turkey in July 2016 and add to the large number of journalists who have been deprived of their employment and their source of income by state actions.

RT Bank Accounts Threatened with Closure in Britain

Update: 01 Feb 2017 Resolved
Year 19 Oct 2016 Country United Kingdom Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
19 Oct 2016 United Kingdom E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

On 17 October 2016, RT UK, a news channel that forms part of the global RT TV news network based in Moscow, published a letter received from British bank NatWest stating that its accounts would be closed following of a “review of banking arrangements”. No explanation was given as to how this conclusion was reached. The letter went on to say that the decision was “final” and that NatWest was “not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.” While such action would not stop RT broadcasting in the UK, it could make it more difficult to run a London bureau, employ staff in Britain and cover events there. RT have accused the British government of being behind NatWest’s actions. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said “It’s completely obvious that this is a political decision and a result of the wild pressure on RT in Europe and Britain recently.” The UK Treasury, in response, denied any involvement with the decision. The bank has since said it would review the situation but has declined to provide justification for the initial decision.

Resolved On 30 January 2016, NatWest announced that it had reached a resolution with RT, reversing its previous decision to close the UK bank account of the Russian TV channel. A spokesman for RBS Group, the bank’s parent company, stated: “When issues arise, we will always try to work with our customers to seek the best possible outcome, and are pleased we have been able to do so in this case.” On 1 February 2017, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom. Article published on the Guardian: "NatWest reverses decision to close RT's bank accounts in UK"

Cumhuriyet Journalist Canan Coşkun Faces 23 Years in Prison for Alleged Insult

Update: 27 Jan 2017 State replied
Year 05 Oct 2015 Country Turkey Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
05 Oct 2015 Turkey C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

Cumhuriyet journalist Canan Coşkun faces more than 23 years in prison on charges of “insulting public officials over their duties” for her report alleging that top judicial officials were able to buy discounted residences from a public real estate company. Daily Cumhuriyet reporter Canan Coşkun reported claims that a lottery to select homebuyers for a housing project in Istanbul’s Başakşehir neighborhood was rigged to favour members of a group of judges and prosecutors with ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Updates

27 Jan 2017 : On 26 January 2017, Istanbul 2nd penal Court of first instance fined journalist Canan Coşkun to 12,600 TL for her report on judges and prosecutors becoming homeowners at a discount rate.

State replies

Follow-ups

17 Mar 2016 : The Venice Commission recommends that Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (Degrading Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, the Organs and Institutions of the State) be redrafted and further amended with the aim of making all the notions used in it clear and specific. Application of this provision should also be limited to statements inciting to violence and hatred.

Poland - Journalists' Access to Parliament Restricted

Update: 25 Jan 2017 Resolved
Year 20 Dec 2016 Country Poland 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 Dec 2016 Poland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

On Saturday 17 December 2016, the Speaker of the lower chamber of the Polish parliament issued an order banning all journalists from entering the parliamentary estate, following large demonstrations in Warsaw and other cities in Poland, in protest at proposed changes to rules governing journalists' access to the Polish parliament. The order remains in force, and no journalists have been able to access the parliamentary estate since Saturday morning. Last week, Marek Kuchciński, the Speaker of the Polish parliament (a member of the ruling Law and Justice Party) published changes to the rules governing journalists’ access to the Polish parliament. The stated goal of the changes is to bring order to the building and lessen interference in MPs work. NGOs have expressed concern that the new regulations would disproportionately restrict the ability of journalists to cover the work of elected representatives, by reducing the number of accredited journalists, significantly limiting where recording can take place and confining most journalists to an official media centre away from the main parliament building. Following the start of demonstrations, Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski has now held consultations with editors of the main media outlets (on 17 and 19 December 2016) and stated that he intends to share new proposals on 6 January 2017.

Resolved On 9 January 2017, Speaker of the Senate Stanislaw Karczewski announced the withdrawal of proposed changes and return to the rules that were in force prior to 14 December 2016 regarding media presence and coverage of parliamentary proceedings and upon the resumption of the work of the Parliament, there were no noted restrictions for the work of journalists when covering parliamentary proceedings. On 25 January 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

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