Disclaimer
 
20 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 28 May 2018 Montenegro

Impunity in the case of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On the evening of 27 May 2004, journalist Dusko Jovanovic, editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Dan in Montenegro, was shot dead while he was leaving his office in Podgorica. Unidentified individuals shot him in the head and chest with an automatic rifle as he was entering his car just after midnight. The daily newpaper Dan was closely tied the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic throughout the 1990s. Before the killing, the newspaper has faced numerous lawsuits for criticizing Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Both Dan and Jovanovic's family reported that the editor had received numerous death threats, and the newspaper's office in Podgorica was set on fire in April 2003. The editor's wife, Slavica Jovanovic, testified before the court that the head of Montenegro's State Security Service, Dusko Markovic, had called her husband and threatened to kill him in April 2003, according to Dan.
On June 9 2004, police arrested Damir Mandic, a local organised crime figure. In October 2004, prosecutors charged Mandic with murder, citing evidence linking him to the vehicle used in the crime. While the indictment did not clarify the reason for the murder, the only motive discussed in the local press has been Jovanovic's work for Dan exposing government abuses.
In April 2009, Mandic was sentenced to 30 years in prison for being an accomplice in Jovanovic's murder. The lawyer representing the Jovanovic family and Dan staff has criticised the police investigation for failing to identify Mandic's accomplices; not identifying who ordered the killing; and not investigating possible links between Mandic and Montenegrin government authorities.
On 28 May 2018, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro issued a statement demanding "to secure the conditions for carrying out an independent investigation of the assassination of Dusko Jovanovic" in order to "find and arrest the perpetrators and masterminds of the most grave violation against journalists in the history of Montenegro"
State replies
Open in a new window show-link
20 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 11 Mar 2019 Croatia

Wave of Lawsuits Against Journalists in Croatia

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
According to the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), there are more than 1,160 ongoing lawsuits against journalists and news outlets in the country. Many cases filed by politicians, public figures and corporations include the offence of ‘shaming’ which is still part of the Croatian Criminal Code. Most of the court cases involve compensation claims for alleged non material damages such as “mental anguish” or “tarnished reputation". On Saturday 2 March 2019, hundreds of journalists led by the CJA rallied in Zagreb to protest against this wave of lawsuits targeting the media. The protest was called after Croatian public broadcaster HRT itself filed 36 lawsuits against its own journalists and others, including CJA head Hrvoje Zovko and CJA branch in Public Service Media, who complained of censorship. “I urge HRT to engage in a constructive out-of-court dialogue with journalists and resolve the current disputes,” reacted on 6 March the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir. “It is commendable that the reconciliation process has started in some of the cases and this will hopefully result in the dropping of all charges against journalists.”
State replies
20 Mar 2019
Follow-ups
11 Mar 2019
New OSCE Representative concerned about numerous lawsuits against journalists in Croatia and disputes involving public service broadcaster HRT.
Open in a new window show-link
19 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 19 Mar 2019 Serbia

Public TV Building Stormed by Anti-Government Protesters

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
A group of around 100 anti-government protesters stormed the building of the Serbian national broadcaster RTS in Belgrade on Saturday 16 March, demanding to be allowed to make a public address live on air. Protesters, who wanted to voice their opposition to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, had to be evacuated from the RTS building after about 50 riot police were deployed to the premises. It was the first time in 20 years that protesters invade the Serbian public TV headquarters. According to the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS), some journalists were pushed and threatened by protesters. However, and despite of the tension, no one was hurt in the incident. The Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) condemned the incident.
Open in a new window show-link
19 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 26 Feb 2018 Slovak Republic

Slovak Investigative Journalist Killed at Home

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ INSI IPI PEN RSF
Partner Index Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ INSI IPI PEN RSF
Investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been reporting on tax fraud, was shot dead at his home, news website Dennik N reported, citing the Interior Ministry. According to Dennik N, the murder took place in the journalist’s house in the village of Veľká Mača 5 km east of the capital Bratislava, some time between 22 and 25 February 2018 . Kuciak was shot in the chest and his fiancée was shot in the head. Kuciak worked for Slovak news website Aktuality.sk.
Updates
New 14 Mar 2019
On 8 March 2019, the prosecutor's office formally charged businessman Marian Kočner with ordering the murder of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
01 Oct 2018
On 27-28 September 2018, the Slovak police detained nine suspects in connection with the murder of the journalist and his fiancée. Four of them were later charged and put into police custody on the grounds that they might try to influence witnesses if freed on bail.
State replies
19 Mar 2019
New Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe
27 Feb 2018
Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe
Follow-ups
14 Mar 2019
New OSCE Representative commends indictment against instigator of murders of journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia
22 Feb 2019
New CoE Human Rights Commissioner encouraged by the various developments in the murder investigations, which so far have led to the arrest of four persons suspected of being involved in the murders, and the possible identification of one person who may have ordered them. However, she calls for extreme vigilance to guarantee the independence of the investigation.
01 Oct 2018
OSCE media freedom representative welcomes important progress in investigation of murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia.
16 Mar 2018
Following his country visit in the Slovak Republic, the Commissioner calls for a prompt and effective investigation in the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak in order to identify and punish the perpetrators, but especially those who ordered the murders. He also calls for an urgent public discussion about media freedom.
02 Mar 2018
OSCE media freedom representative calls for full and transparent investigation of journalist’s murder at meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Fico
01 Mar 2018
PACE President condemns murder of investigative journalist in the Slovak Republic
26 Feb 2018
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media representative strongly condemns murder of investigative reporter Kuciak in Slovakia
26 Feb 2018
"If death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak is linked to his journalism, it would be an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy".
26 Feb 2018
Human Rights Commissioner: "I will raise the issue during upcoming visit to the country."
Open in a new window show-link
15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Feb 2019 Poland

Polish Party Leader Initiates Libel Charge Against Critical Newspaper

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI AEJ
Partner IPI AEJ
Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has initiated a criminal libel charge against the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza for publishing reports about his reported involvement in the construction of a 190-meter-tall skyscraper in Warsaw. The Polish state-owned news agency PAP reported that the newspaper would be subject to public prosecution based on the defamation complaint filed by Kaczyński due to the existence of a “legitimate public interest”. Under Article 212 of the Polish Penal Code, defamation committed via mass media can result in a fine or up to one year in prison. Gazeta Wyborcza had reported on Kaczyński’s plans to build the skyscraper on a plot of land the newspaper said was given to him by political allies. Construction was to be undertaken by a company called Srebrna, closely linked to PiS, and with the help of a credit line given by a bank recently brought under state control. The newspaper also published several hours of recordings between Kaczyński and a businessman whom Kaczyński has reportedly refused to pay. Gazeta Wyborcza has said its reporting was fully substantiated and called the libel charge “an attempt to stifle criticism by the press, and in doing so to deprive the public of important, concrete allegations”. Article 212 has been the target of several failed repeal efforts in the past due to its use in stifling free expression.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
Open in a new window show-link
15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 30 Nov 2018 Ukraine

Journalists Attacked by Far-Right Radicals

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On 18 November 2018, two Ukrainian and a Canadian journalists have been attacked in Kyiv by right-wing groups participating in counter-rally on Transgender Commemoration Day. The peaceful rally was attacked by mobilised ultra-right groups and was disrupted. People were attacked with teargas, smoke bombs. Among those who were injured there were journalists.
Margareta Bondari, aged 19, freelance journalist with Spilka magazine, was attacked by three men when she was leaving the site and got injuries caused by pepper spray. In the course of the next days, she was personally targeted by Yevgen Karas, the leader of the S14 ultra-right group, through media and social networks. Margareta Bondari was subjected to intimidation campaign early this year when she exposed facts of deliberate arson of Roma houses in Kyiv.
Bogdan Aminov, aged 22, a journalist with Newsone TV channel, was also attacked during the counter-rally. According to him, his official complaint to the police is not being investigated.
Canadian journalist Michael Colborne was also assaulted with pepper spray and punched in the face by two counter demonstrators near a metro station, suffering a swollen lip and cuts on his face from his broken glasses. The Police said they opened an investigation on Michael Colborne’s attack, classifying it as hooliganism.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Open in a new window show-link
15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Jan 2019 Ukraine

Kherson daily “Novyi Den” Tear-Gassed and Shot at During Press Conference

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported that on 18 January 2019, during a press conference hosted by the press club of the daily “New Day” (Novyi Den) in Kherson, Ukraine, the newspaper came under attack from unknown assailants using rubber bullets and tear-gas from outside the building, before entering. One journalist present suffered chemical burns as a result. The police later arrested and released Kyril Stremousov, head of the Khersonian regional Socialist Party on charges of hoooliganism for the assault.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Follow-ups
25 Jan 2019
New Alarmed at attack on office of Novyi Den newspaper, the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom calls on the authorities to fully investigate and prosecute the attackers.
Open in a new window show-link
15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 21 Jan 2019 Ukraine

Belarusian Journalist Pavel Karnazytsky Deported from Ukraine

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 2 January 2019, officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested Belarusian journalist Pavel Karnazytsky, founder of the Ukrainian newsportal Glavnovosti and deported him to Belarus. SBU accused him of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and fake news. According to their statement: “Special services found out that a foreigner living in Ukraine illegally, publicly disseminated fake information. In particular, during speeches on some television channels, he questioned the internationally recognized evidence of the presence of the aggressor country troops in the temporarily occupied territories of our country. Also, Mr Karnazytsky repeatedly published anti-Ukrainian materials on media resources controlled by the terrorist organisations “DPR” and “LPR”,”.

Pavel Karnazytsky lived in Ukraine since the end of the 90s, when he left Belarus. His lawyer stated that Karnazytsky had left Belarus because of political persecution.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Open in a new window show-link
14 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 14 Mar 2019 Turkey

Turkey Revokes Press Accreditations of Foreign Correspondents

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
German journalists were compelled to leave Turkey on Sunday, 10 March 2019, after their press accreditations were not renewed for 2019 without any explanation. Thomas Seibert, reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, was a long-term correspondent in the country. Jörg Brase was head of public broadcaster ZDF’s Istanbul office. The Turkish embassy in Germany tried in vain to make a deal to have the correspondents replaced, Tagesspiegel’s editor-in-chief reports. A third journalist, Halil Gülbeyaz, with public broadcaster NDR also had his accreditation refused and is not allowed return to Turkey. On 13 March 2019, Brase’s accreditation was renewed, after 20 freedom of expression and human rights organisations had urged Turkey to rescind the decisions. The status of Seibert and Gülbeyaz remains unclear.
Open in a new window show-link
11 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 21 Jan 2019 Belgium

Multiple Complaints Filed Against Investigative Journalists David Leloup and Tom Cochez

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Several complaints have been filed against Belgian investigative journalists David Leloup and Tom Cochez by companies or individuals belonging to the political and financial community of the city of Liège. Following the publication of a series of articles between April 2017 and December 2018, in the weekly "Le Vif-L'Express", regarding a corruption case involving Socialist MP Alain Mathot and the Nethys company’s business, led by Stéphane Moreau, former socialist mayor of the city of Ans, David Leloup has been the target of five complaints and two threats of complaints, within little less than a year, between 5 January and 28 December 2018. The journalist must answer criminal charges following a complaint filed by the Semeb company. Four complaints were also filed with the Journalistic Ethics Board (CDJ) by Alain Mathot and by the Nethys SA and Ogeo Fund companies. Brussels businessman Dominique Janne and Ogeo Fund threatened the journalist with two additional judicial complaints.
The journalist Tom Cochez is also targeted by two ethical complaints and faces two threats of judicial complaint, including one targeting the Flemish online investigative media Apache, which collaborates with Le Vif-L'Express on the above-mentioned investigation cases. The Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP) is worried about this multiplication of complaints targeting those journalists. The AJP provided David Leloup with a lawyer, in order to respond to the judicial harassment he is obviously subjected to.
Updates
New 11 Mar 2019
On 8 March 2019, the Belgian association for the support of journalists and whistleblowers Xpress revealed that Nethys' and Stéphane Moreau's lawyer served a formal notice to the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) to remove all references to its clients in the alert published on the Council of Europe Platform to strengthen the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists. The EFJ did not answer the demand.
Open in a new window show-link

CONTACT US

Follow us   

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”.
Twitter feed Twitter feed
Thematic Factsheets Thematic Factsheets



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”.