Disclaimer
 
04 Dec 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 04 Dec 2020 n° 153/2020 Croatia

Death threats against Croatian journalists after man storms into Zadarski.hr editorial offices

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner IPI
No state reply yet
Partner IPI
On 1 December 2020, journalists from the Croatian news portal Zadarski.hr were threatened by an unknown man who entered the editorial office in Zadar and said he would kill and “slaughter” the journalists over a report about a wedding held in violation of COVID-19 rules. The incident occurred at around midday when two men stormed into the offices of Zadarski.hr and its parent newspaper, Slobodna Dalmacija, and one began shouting and harassing their staff, according to the editor. The pair had reportedly been angered with a news story published recently Zadarski.hr, which was also published by Slobodna Dalmacija. The article had reported about a wedding in Slivnica Gornja which allegedly took place in violation of the government’s COVID-19 measures restricting any wedding ceremonies. One man disputed the number of people at the wedding but did not deny it took place. He also called the journalists “vultures” and threatened to “kill and slaughter journalists like kittens.” After that, both men left the editorial office. Death threats were also reportedly sent online to the journalist who wrote the article. The incident was immediately reported to the police, who arrived shortly after to take statements. Later that afternoon, a man was detained by Zadar Police Department in connection with the threats. A criminal investigation was undertaken against a 50-year-old man on suspicion of “threatening” and also spreading and transmitting a contagious disease. The man was suspected of organizing the wedding celebration on Saturday November 28. After the report was completed, a criminal report was handed over to the custody supervisor of the Zadar Police Administration.
Open in a new window show-link
04 Dec 2020 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 16 Nov 2016 n° 117/2016 Ukraine

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

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
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.
Updates
17 Sep 2019
Aleksei Pukach, the former head of the surveillance department in the Ministry of Interior, who was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to the killing of Georgy Gongadze on 23 January 2013, has appealed his life sentence. The appeal hearings began in Ukraine’s Supreme Court on 4 September 2019 and will resume on 9 October.
State replies
16 Feb 2017
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Follow-ups
04 Dec 2020
New On 3 December 2020, the Committee of Ministers adopted a new decision on the implementation of the ECHR judgment in the Gongadze case noting “with profound concern that 20 years after Mr Gongadze’s abduction and murder, proceedings have not yet concluded and no tangible progress has been achieved either in the conclusion of the cassation proceedings related to Mr Pukach, one of the murder perpetrators, or in the criminal investigation into the instigation and organisation of the murder. Authorities are “strongly urged to ensure the swift completion of the investigation into the instigation and organisation of the murder”.
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.
Open in a new window show-link
04 Dec 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Oct 2020 n° 126/2020 Ukraine

Arson Attack on Alternatyva.org Editorial Office

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On the night of 21 October 2020, an arson was committed against the editorial office of the regional media Alternatyva.org in the Odesa Oblast. The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported the incident, referring to information from Roman Varshanidze, editor-in-chief of the publication. The journalist said that according to witnesses, two unknown persons broke a window and threw a bottle with a Molotov cocktail into the editorial office. The furniture and floor were burnt as a result, but the editorial office and equipment were saved by the neighbours, who were able to extinguish the flames before the firefighters arrived.

This is the second attack on Alternatyva.org in a week. On 17 October, Roman Varshanidze was beaten while filming by three unknown persons, leaving him with bruises and a concussion.
State replies
04 Dec 2020
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Open in a new window show-link
02 Dec 2020 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 09 Nov 2020 n° 135/2020 Slovenia

Journalists Attacked and Injured while Covering Protests in Slovenia

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner IPI RSF
Partner IPI RSF
On 5 November 2020, photojournalist Borut Živulovič was hospitalised after suffering a blow to the head while covering protests in Ljubljana. Živulovič works as a freelancer for Reuters and a photographer for the agency Bobo. The Slovenian Journalists' Association (DNS) said that the attack had been carried out by an unknown perpetrator and occurred when Živulovič had been “physically confronted” at the rally, which according to media outlets was attended by around 500 protesters from different groups speaking out against the government and its COVID-19 measures. Several other media outlets reported that their news crews had been aggressively pushed and faced obstruction, threats and intimidation from protesters as they reported on clashes. Vladimir Vodušek, a well-known journalist, host and founder of Topnewsa.si and Top TV was also assaulted by a man who kicked a camera stand out of his hand from behind and then threw him to the ground, causing a minor injury to his leg. Video footage of the incident was later posted on social media. Photojournalist Voranc Vogel was also struck in the shoulder by an object thrown at police, but was not injured.
State replies
02 Dec 2020
Open in a new window show-link
02 Dec 2020 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 06 Oct 2020 n° 114/2020 Slovenia

Two Journalists from RTV Slovenia Subject to Preliminary Investigation for Violating COVID-19 Restrictions

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner CPJ
Partner CPJ
On 15 September 2020, a uniformed police officer informed Mojca Šetinc Pašek, a reporter and editor at the public broadcaster RTV Slovenia, and Miša Molk, a host on the network, that a criminal complaint had been filed against them. The complaint alleged that Pašek and Molk had organised a 15 July 2020 demonstration that violated Slovenia’s COVID-19 restrictions. The officer said a preliminary investigation was underway, and took brief statements from each journalist, Pašek said. The officer did not disclose who had filed the complaint. The protest, held in the Republic Square in Ljubljana, saw several hundred journalists and media workers demonstrate against policy changes proposed by Prime Minister Janez Janša that critics say might harm RTV Slovenia’s budget and editorial independence. Pašek told CPJ that she and Molk participated in the demonstration but did not organise it.

The organisers of the rally could face criminal charges under the Public Gatherings Act, a misdemeanor listed under Article 50 of Slovenia’s Minor Offenses Act, according to a police statement. If charged and convicted, the accused could face a maximum fine of €400. “Although the procedure was not illegal and the officer’s behaviour was correct, I find the procedure absurd and an attempt to intimidate journalists,” Pašek told CPJ. She said that RTV Slovenia’s legal department is assessing the situation, and the two journalists will file a criminal complaint for alleged false accusation. CPJ emailed questions to the police in Ljubljana but did not receive any reply.
State replies
02 Dec 2020
Open in a new window show-link
01 Dec 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 01 Dec 2020 n° 153/2020 France

Flyers Inciting Hatred against Journalists in French Police Stations

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 24 November 2020, the online media "Le Zéphyr" published the testimony of a French police officer from the Paris region, describing the climate of anti-journalist hatred prevailing in some police stations. "Anti-journalists flyers are flourishing in the changing rooms. They show the heads of well-known reporters, freelancers, media owners branded as "left-wing Islamists". “Beating them is being encouraged" the policeman said. “Add to this the remarks and applause when you learn that a journalist has been beaten up the day before and you will get a glimpse of the atmosphere," the policeman also stated. On 26 November, the French journalists' unions SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT-Journalists and SGJ-FO called on the French authorities to put an end to these practices of call for violence and even death threats targeting several journalists by name, in particular Taha Bouhafs, David Dufresne, Gaspard Glanz, and Nnoman. The unions demand that the perpetrators of such acts be identified and punished in accordance with the law. The French journalists' unions also call for an end to the repeated acts of violence against their colleagues and all journalists and media workers during the demonstrations.
Open in a new window show-link
01 Dec 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 01 Dec 2020 n° 152/2020 France

Several Journalists Wounded during "March for Freedoms" in Paris

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner RSF EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner RSF EFJ/IFJ
During a police charge against violent protesters at Place de la Bastille in Paris on 28 November 2020, photographer Ameer Al Halbi was wounded in the face by a police baton deliberately aimed at him. While covering the "March for Freedoms" against the draft law on "global security", Ameer Al Halbi was equipped with his camera and was part of a tight-knit group of photographers and journalists at the time of the charge, hence identifiable as a journalist. Due to his multiple facial injuries, Ameer Al Halbi had to be taken to hospital. A freelance photographer, he collaborates with Polka Magazine and Agence France Presse for which he covered the siege of Aleppo. He left Syria at the end of 2016 to take refuge in France in February 2017. Ameer Al Halbi won in 2017 the 2nd prize of the World Press Photo in the "Spot News" category.
During the same demonstration, seven other journalists, clearly identified as such, were injured or attacked by the police, according to French journalists' unions: Rémy Buisine (Brut) was bludgeoned; the photojournalist Tulyppe was also bludgeoned and his camera destroyed; Palice Jokowski was hit on the ground; the photographer Hannah Nelson (Taranis News) was hit by a detonating grenade; photographer Bsaz, also the target of a detonating grenade, suffers bruising; photographer Asling Giuliani was hit on the ground and suffers bruising and pain in her back and knee; photographer Tay Calenda received a severe blow to the cheekbone during a police charge.
Freelancers

Key information :

Ameer Al Halbi ; Bsaz; Tay Calenda; Tulyppe

Open in a new window show-link
30 Nov 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 27 Nov 2020 n° 150/2020 France

Journalists Assaulted by Police during Forced Evacuation of Migrant Camp

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On the evening of 23 November 2020, at least two journalists were assaulted by police officers while covering the heavy-handed evacuation of a migrant camp in Paris.

Journalist Remy Buisine, working for online news media 'Brut', reported being assaulted several times by police. He said he was first "caught in the throat", then "violently thrown there" as well as beaten on the ground, as documented by video.

Photographer Florent Bardos for press agency Abaca Press was taking photos of the evacuation when a police officer hit him with baton, leaving him with a light injury. He reported on Twitter: "A bit stunned I step back, take off my cap and run my hand through my hair, it is covered in blood."

Media reported the use of tear gas and violence to dismantle the camp by police officers. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin described the images as "shocking" and said he had demanded a report on the police operation.
Follow-ups
30 Nov 2020
New The Commissioner for Human Rights: "The images of the police operation carried out last night at Place de la République in Paris are schocking".
Open in a new window show-link
27 Nov 2020 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 09 Nov 2020 n° 137/2020 France

Bill on Global Security Threatens Press Freedom

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI RSF
The National Assembly's Laws Committee adopted a bill on "global security" tabled by the government's majority. This text is due to be considered under the fast-track procedure on 17 November. In statements to the press and during a hearing held at the National Assembly on 2 November, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed that the proposed law was being carried out "in full collaboration with the government" with the aim of "strengthening the police". The minister stressed that he had promised "to forbid the dissemination of images of police officers and gendarmes on social networks". Article 24 of the bill provides, among other things, to supplement the law of 29 July 1881 on freedom of the press as follows: "Dissemination of face images or any other identifying element of an officer belonging to the national police or the gendarmerie acting in the context of a policing operation, by any means whatsoever and on any medium whatsoever, with the aim of causing harm to his or her physical or psychological integrity, shall be punishable by one year's imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros". The Human Rights League and organisations representing journalists in France and around the world consider that this bill aims to disproportionately restrict the rights of journalists and freedom of the press. According to the Human Rights League, "It would allow for the arrest, placement in police custody and court referral of any journalist filming live a police operation . (...) This text also aims to prevent the revelation of cases of illegitimate police violence often covered up by the hierarchy of the officers involved".
Updates
New 25 Nov 2020
On 24 November 2020, the National Assembly adopted the bill in the first reading. The bill is expected to go before the Senate and must also receive a referral before the Constitutional Council before it comes into effect.
Additional Information
Open in a new window show-link
27 Nov 2020 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 27 Nov 2020 n° 151/2020 Greece

Three German Freelance Journalists Detained on Lesbos while Reporting on Refugee Landings

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner IPI RPT
No state reply yet
Partner IPI RPT
On 17 November 2020, three German freelance journalists reporting on the landing of migrants and refugees and possible illegal “pushbacks” by the Greek authorities on the island of Lesbos were detained for several hours without charge, interrogated and photographed. The incident happened at around 4.30pm when journalists Jan Theurich, Ole Jacobs, and Arne Büttner were driving on country road in the north of the island towards the village Palios, where they had learnt from the publicly available sources about an imminent landing. Theurich, Jacobs, and Büttner regard their arrest, detention and interrogation as an interference in the freedom of the press and an act of intimidation aimed at preventing them from reporting. They believe their treatment and unjustified detention may have been linked to recent reporting and criticism of the HCG and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) about pushbacks - measures by which refugees and migrants are forced back over a border without consideration of their individual circumstances or the ability to apply for asylum, which violates the European Convention on Human Rights. When the journalists arrived at to the area, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) bus and several police officers were already on site. The journalists got out, introduced themselves as media and presented their filming permit. The HCG officer they spoke to called someone and 20 minutes later two civilian vehicles arrived. During this time the boat had landed and those aboard it could be seen by the journalists. Without introducing themselves, the newly arrived officials checked the journalists' papers again and kept their national and journalists’ IDs. Afterwards, they were asked to give their cell phones. They refused to do so and were finally allowed to keep the phones, on the condition that they turned them off. A legal basis for these and the other procedures was not given upon multiple requests. The journalists were only informed that they are not under arrest. They were then ordered to get into the civilian cars to go to the HCG station in Mytilini, the capital of the island, which is about 30 km away (around 40 minutes drive) from the spot. After negotiations, they were allowed to bring their cameras and sound equipment with them. Their cars had to be left behind. Theurich and Büttner were placed in one car with another detained person. The journalists’ complaints that having five people in the car contradicted the Greek government’s Covid-19 regulations and would put them at risk of infection were met with silence. At the HCG station, the journalists had to wait for around two hours before Theurich was interrogated. He refused to give any other information except for the purpose of the journalists’ presence on the spot (reporting) and his place of residence. The interrogating officer again refused to give a legal basis of his interrogation but said “that he had to find out whether our [journalists] presence on site would make sense”. At around 9.30 pm journalists were released after being photographed. This was again done without the possibility of refusal or naming the legal basis for this identification treatment. The HCG refused to deliver the journalists back to their cars and told them to take a cab even though there was already a curfew starting at 9pm.
Freelancers

Key information :

Jan Theurich, Ole Jacobs, Arne Büttner

Open in a new window show-link

CONTACT US

Follow us   

Special feature Special feature

Download the 2020 Annual Report
English   Français    русский 
Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

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”.

14 January 2016