EU must insist on press freedom at summit with Turkey

first_img Credit: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP to go further TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsOnline freedomsMedia independence Judicial harassmentImprisonedFreedom of expressionCouncil of Europe April 2, 2021 Find out more April 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Turkey On the eve of a meeting between the leaders of Turkey and the European Union, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the EU to insist on Turkish respect for press freedom as a condition for progress in relations.Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is due to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in the Bulgarian city of Varna on 26 March to discuss the state of bilateral relations two years after the EU/Turkey agreement on migration.In the following letter, RSF urges Europe’s leader to press firmly for the restoration of pluralism in Turkey, the lifting of the state of emergency and the release of all wrongfully imprisoned journalists.For the attention of:European Commission President Jean-Claude JunckerEuropean Council President Donald TuskHigh Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica MogheriniDear President Juncker, President Tusk and High Representative Mogherini, As you prepare to meet with President Erdoğan in Varna on 26 March, you must be aware of the unprecedented crackdown on journalists and media outlets in Turkey, which is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s latest World Press Freedom Index. The Turkish government’s witch hunt against critical media has climaxed since the July 2016 coup attempt.The state of emergency in effect since then has allowed the authorities to liquidate around 150 media outlets at the stroke of pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulation newspapers, including the dailies Cumhuriyet (recipient of the RSF Press Freedom Prize in 2015), Sözcü and BirGün, which are the targets of growing harassment. This week’s acquisition of the Doğan media group by the pro-government conglomerate Demirören completes the subjugation of the mainstream media. Government propaganda now dominates the media landscape.Turkey is again the world’s biggest prison for media professionals. Criticizing the authorities, working for a “suspect” media outlet, contacting a sensitive source or using an encrypted messaging service often suffices for a journalist to be imprisoned without the judicial system feeling the need to prove any individual involvement in criminal activity.The Turkish courts recently refused to heed several rulings by the constitutional court, the country’s highest court, ordering the immediate release of imprisoned journalists. Their refusal “runs counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty,” the European Court of Human Rights said this week.After being held provisionally for more than a year, journalists are starting to be convicted. The first media figures to be accused of complicity with the coup attempt, the well-known journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazli Ilicak, were sentenced last month to life imprisonment with no possibility of a pardon. A few days later, 25 of their colleagues also received prison sentences. Verdicts are expected soon in the case of 31 former Zaman employees, who will appear in court on 5 April, and in the case of 17 Cumhuriyet employees, whose trial will resume on 24 April.Censorship of the Internet and social networks has also reached unprecedented levels. The chronic blocking of many news websites and the frequent social network slowdowns have now been compounded by frequent arrests of Internet users and the blocking of access to censorship circumvention tools (VPNs and the Tor Network). Hundreds of Internet users have been arrested since mid-January for criticizing Turkey’s offensive in Syria’s Afrin region.We cannot overstate the degree to which these policies are fraught with peril, including for the EU. Carried out in the name of combatting terrorism, they dangerously increase the country’s instability, which has already been exacerbated by the region’s geopolitical crisis. By raising the political climate to fever pitch and by preventing a democratic debate among the different sectors of the population, President Erdoğan is accentuating the deep divisions in a very polarized society. By undermining the foundations of Turkish democracy and shrinking the sources of independent news and information, he has turned his country into an unpredictable and unreliable partner for Europe.We ask you to make it clear to President Erdoğan that Turkey cannot expect any progress in its relations with the EU as long as the authorities continues to trample on press freedom and the rule of law. We fully understand the need to cooperate with Ankara on certain issues but a conditional approach must prevail more than ever in bilateral relations. Although the Turkish authorities claim, for example, to have satisfied all the criteria for Turkish citizens to enjoy visa-free travel within the EU, they still have not amended their terrorism legislation, which continues to be widely used to persecute critics.We count on you to firmly ask President Erdoğan to restore pluralism, lift the state of emergency and immediately free all journalists who have been imprisoned without evidence of individual involvement in a crime recognized by international law. The rulings of Turkey’s constitutional court and the European Court of Human Rights on Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan must be implemented without delay. We also ask you to increase EU support for Turkish civil society and independent journalists. They are resisting with determination but the battle is an unequal one. They need help more than ever.We thank you in advance for the attention you give to this letter and we are at your disposal should you need more detailed information.Sincerely,Christophe Deloire Reporters Without Borders secretary-general TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsOnline freedomsMedia independence Judicial harassmentImprisonedFreedom of expressionCouncil of Europe News RSF_en Receive email alerts News Help by sharing this information News Organisation April 28, 2021 Find out more Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor News Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit March 23, 2018 EU must insist on press freedom at summit with Turkeylast_img read more

Four journalists get death threats

first_img June 10, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Four journalists get death threats to go further Guatemala: 51 Signatories Call For Authorities To Drop Criminal Charges Against Indigenous Journalist Anastasia Mejía Guatemala. Don’t put the Guatemalan press in quarantine! RSF_en Organisation Reporters Without Borders expressed concern today about death threats received by four journalists and seven human rights activists in Guatemala and called on the authorities to thoroughly investigate and to arrest and punish those responsible.”This intimidation is a new blow to press freedom in Guatemala, where human rights organisations and those reporting violations are increasingly under constant pressure,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to interior minister Eduardo Arévalo Lacs.Ménard noted that freelance journalist David Herrera was forced to go into exile in April after investigating human rights violations by the army during the country’s 1960-96 civil war. About 20 journalists were threatened or physically attacked and the staff of several media subjected to intimidation in Guatemala last year, according to Reporters Without Borders. The four journalists – Abner Gouz, of the daily El Periódico, Rosa María Bolaños, of the daily Siglo XXI, Ronaldo Robles and Marielos Monzón, of the radio station Emisoras Unidas, along with seven human rights activists, received death threats on 7 June in a anonymous statement sent to the Alliance Against Impunity and to the newsrooms of the media concerned. The 11 were accused of being “enemies of the country” and were threatened with “extermination” by “true Guatemalans.”The threats came after the 27-31 May visit to Guatemala by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani, who was also mentioned in the statement. At the end of her visit, she said the existence of clandestine armed groups threatening human rights activists and accused to be backed by the army was “very serious and worrying” and called on the government to track them down and bring them under control. The 11 who received the threats have formally complained to the country’s human rights prosecutor, Tatiana Morales.Guatemala’s truth commission (Comisión para el Esclarecimiento Histórico – CEH) said in February 1999 that the army was responsible for 93 per cent of the massacres perpetrated during the civil war in which nearly 200,000 people were killed or disappeared. But the government has refused to implement the commission’s recommendations, notably its call to set up a special enquiry into the army to weed out those mainly responsible for such abuses. News News Help by sharing this information Newscenter_img GuatemalaAmericas May 8, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Guatemala Receive email alerts Red alert for green journalism – 10 environmental reporters killed in five years January 7, 2021 Find out more News GuatemalaAmericas August 21, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Press freedom in great danger after bad month in Nicaragua

first_img NicaraguaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists CorruptionFreedom of expressionViolence to go further Local media badly hit Organisation A drone hovered over his home and its garden for several hours on 25 November. After forcing him to get into a police car on 30 November, policemen hit him and made death threats, mentioning members of his family. Arrested a total of six times since 24 November, he is now charged with inciting hatred and promoting hate campaigns on his website. News Nearly half of UN member countries have obstructed coronavirus coverage News RSF issued several alerts and recommendations about the situation of Nicaragua’s independent media after a joint visit with the Inter-American Press Association in August. Nicaragua is ranked 90th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. NicaraguaAmericas Condemning abusesProtecting journalists CorruptionFreedom of expressionViolence Radio frequencies cut, transmitters trashed News News Their targets have included Gustavo Jarquín, a journalist with Radio Corporación, who was stopped and insulted by three police officers near the radio station’s headquarters in Managua on 24 November. “You’re from the terrorist radio station that wants to overthrow the government,” one of the policemen said, before hitting him in the face. Spy drones, police violence “The common feature of the journalists and media outlets that are being hounded by the police and by Daniel Ortega’s personal bodyguards is their independent and critical news coverage, which is something the government is unable to tolerate,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. Gruesome death threats against Nicaraguan exile journalist Those who have fled abroad include Carlos Pastora of Canal 10, Edgardo Pinell of VOS TV and Canal TV, and Jaime Arellano, the host of “Jaime Arellano en La Nación” on 100% Noticias. Arellano fled on 25 November because of repeated death threats and other forms of harassment. Other journalists are likely to follow if the persecution continues or intensifies. “These independent media outlets are nonetheless doing a vital job, which is to draw attention to the Ortega family’s violent crackdown and the almost complete control it wields over the country. The persecution of dissident journalists is unacceptable and poses a grave threat to press freedom. RSF supports all of Nicaragua’s independent media and calls on the international community not to ignore these abuses.” July 29, 2020 Find out more RSF also condemns the arbitrary detention of Luis Sánchez Sáncho, a 76-year-old columnist for La Prensa, who spent six days in prison as a result of an ordinary traffic accident, and the fact that many journalists have had to flee the country. After more harassment of independent journalists in November, including arbitrary detention, violence, death threats and spying, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sounds the alarm about President Daniel Ortega’s increasing authoritarianism and the danger of press freedom being throttled to death in Nicaragua. Policemen have threatened to kill Miguel Mora, the owner and director of the TV news channel 100% Noticias, and his wife, Verónica Chávez, who presents the programme “Ellas lo dicen.” The police have been harassing him for weeks, and both the radio station and his home are permanently watched by individuals posted outside. December 5, 2018 – Updated on December 24, 2018 Press freedom in great danger after bad month in Nicaragua Follow the news on Nicaragua Outside the big cities, community media and local radio stations are being hit very hard by the purge. In the town of León, several members of the staff of Radio Dario – which Ortega supporters torched in April – were arrested arbitrarily by riot police on 23 November and were held for several hours before being released. The staff of Radio Vos in Matagalpa had a similar experience. Receive email alerts June 29, 2020 Find out more Last week, police invaded and trashed the property in the department of León where Álvaro Montalván, the owner and director of Radio Mi Voz, had placed the radio station’s transmitters. RSF and PEN urge Nicaraguan legislators to reject “foreign agents” bill September 29, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information The censorship and harassment take many forms. The telecommunications regulator TELCOR suddenly deprived 100% Noticias of its broadcast signal on 30 November without giving any reason. Other TV channels (including Canal 12, Telenorte, CDNN23, Canal 12, Canal 23 and Canal 51) were temporarily deprived of their frequencies earlier this year. The persecution of Nicaragua’s political opposition and media critics has not let up since April. But now, instead of just obstructing journalists covering protests and social unrest, the police are undertaking direct, violent action against those regarded as overly critical of the government. RSF_en Cartoon from Pedro Molina, a cartoonist and illustrator from Nicaragua persecuted by the authoritiesCarlos Salinas Maldonado, a journalist and editor for the website confidencial.com.ni who also writes for the Madrid daily El País, has been a repeated target of cyber-attacks and online harassment campaigns, while police patrol cars often spy on his home. Motorcyclists followed him as he drove from his home to El Confidencial on 27 and 28 November, repeatedly shouting: “You’re f***ed, that’s definite, you’re f***ed.” RSF has registered many other recent cases of journalists being harassed by Sandinista government supporters, who are particularly active in León, one of the towns that has been hit worst by censorship. The targets have included Eddy López, a reporter for the Managua newspaper La Prensa, as well as Radio Mi Voz director Montalván and several members of his staff.last_img read more

Arrests, censorship and propaganda in reaction to Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel

first_img News ChinaAsia – Pacific to go further Receive email alerts Chinese media coverage of Liu’s Nobel is still limited to Beijing’s angry reaction. The national television service and most newspapers, even the most liberal ones, are saying nothing. Newsrooms received a clear order from the Propaganda Department on 8 October: “It is forbidden to relay information” about the award (不能跨范围转载). Wei Qiang, a 21-year-old student from Shaanxi who is attending Beijing’s Central School of Fine Arts (Zhongyang Meishu Xueyuan), was interrogated at a Beijing police station after trying to disseminate information about Liu’s Nobel within the school. June 2, 2021 Find out more News An open letter has meanwhile been released by 23 retired Communist Party officials and intellectuals urging the country’s highest authorities to carry out political reforms and to respect the guarantees of free speech and media freedom in article 35 of the Chinese constitution. The appeal has been systematically removed from the Chinese blogs and websites where it had been posted.The Open letter from Party elders calls for free speech: http://cmp.hku.hk/2010/10/13/8035/ In one of the latest developments, 1984BBS, a chat forum used by many journalists, has been closed under pressure from the police. Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Foreign TV stations continue to be jammed whenever they carry a report referring to Liu. Online censorship is still intense. Some bloggers, such as the writer Han Han, have protested by posting empty messages to symbolise the impossibility of referring to Liu. China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News The government’s credibility will be badly damaged if it denies the Chinese people access to any information about Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize except its own hostile reactions. Why do the Communist Party’s leaders not let Chinese citizens judge the award’s historic significance for themselves? A former journalist who served a jail sentence, Liu Jingsheng, said police had been posted outside his home. Liu Xiaobo supporters without Beijing residence permits have been sent back to their province of origin. Gao Jian, for example, was sent back to Shanxi, where the local authorities are now interrogating him. Three students attending the People’s University (Renmin Daxue) in Beijing were arrested after unfurling banners supporting Liu in Tiananmen Square at 6 p.m. on 8 October. There has so far been no word about what has happened to them since their arrest. RSF_en center_img China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures October 13, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Arrests, censorship and propaganda in reaction to Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Reporters Without Borders urges the Chinese government to release all of Liu supporters who are being held just for expressing their joy about the award. It is regrettable that the authorities are stepping up harassment of writers and journalists, including members of Independent Chinese PEN Centre, the writers’ association of which Liu was for many years the president. Reporters Without Borders also calls for the restrictions on the freedom of movement of Liu’s wife to be lifted. The arrests began on the evening of 8 October. Supporters of Liu have been arrested in Beijing, Shanghai, Jinan and even in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Initial eight-day detention orders were issued for three of them – Wang Lihong, Wu Gan and Zhao Changqing. Organisation Wave of arrests April 27, 2021 Find out more Dozens of university academics, students and lawyers have also been placed under house arrest. From time to time, Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, manages to post messages on Twitter. But the Beijing police have forbidden her to leave her home. Follow the news on China Liu Xia was able to tell her husband on 10 October that he has been awarded the Nobel. Although he had already been told by prison guards, he burst into tears and said he dedicated it to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Since then, the conditions in which he is being held have improved. Liu Xia said he now has better food and has been allowed a small stove so that he can cook in his cell, which he shares with five other inmates. News Help by sharing this information Some Chinese foreign-language media including the English-language version of the nationalist newspaper Global Times and the French and English versions of People’s Daily reported the government’s reaction. Youth Daily ran a story headlined: “Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo named – an insult to the Nobel Peace Prize.” ChinaAsia – Pacific Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has said, “freedom of expression is essential in all countries.” Except in China, apparently. There have been many acts of censorship, intimidation and propaganda since the 8 October announcement that jailed dissident intellectual Liu Xiaobo is the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. According to the Independent Chinese PEN Centre, at least 40 human rights activists and journalists have been held or questioned for trying to celebrate Liu’s award. March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Russia

first_imgNews to go further Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearing RussiaEurope – Central Asia RSF_en News March 12, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Russia After the takeover by the Kremlin of the audiovisual media early in the Putin era, the Internet became the freest space for discussion and information-sharing in Russia. Yet its dependence is threatened by blogger arrests and prosecutions, and the blocking of independent websites labeled as “extremist.” The Web has also become a first-rate sphere of activity for government propaganda and could become a political control mechanism.Web access has spread extensively in the last few years, and with government support. The project to create a Russian Silicon Valley was launched by President Dimitri Medvedev’s decree of December 31, 2009. This plan unveils the country’s technological ambitions.The Internet is regulated by the Federal Service for Communications Supervision, whose Director is appointed by the Prime Minister. The government secured the means to carry out Web surveillance from the very start. In 2000, all Internet service providers were required to install “Sorm-2” software, “SORM” being the Russian acronym for “System for Operative Investigative Activities.” It enables the police and Federal Security Service (FSB) to have access to user surfing activity and email traffic. A 2007 law authorized the government to intercept Web data without a prior court order. Social networks such as Vkontakte and the blog platform Livejournal were bought out by oligarchs with close ties to the regime.“Troubling” websites blocked, prosecuted or hackedThe Internet is not subject to an automatic filtering system, but independent sites and those with close ties to the opposition have been rendered inaccessible in the last few months. In 2008, the www.Kompromat.ru website was blocked by several Internet service providers prior to the presidential elections, and later unblocked. In December 2009, Garry Kasparov’s websites (www.Kasparov.ru and www.Rusolidarnost.ru) and www.Nazbol.ru, the National Bolshevik Party’s website, were blocked for Yota service provider users. Yota denied the allegations, citing technical problems, and the websites were finally unblocked. The management of the Skartel operator, which owns Yota, admitted that this company blocks websites that the Ministry of Justice classifies as “extremist.” The list of “extremist” content, issued by the Attorney General, includes nearly 500 terms and is constantly being updated under the watchful eye of the “e-Centers” responsible for eliminating extremism. Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code defines “extremism” as “xenophobia and incitement to hatred by means of a social group.” These are the justifications given for shutting down the www.ingushetiya.ru website, the only news portal in the Ingush language. The website www.ingushetiyaru.org was then created. In the same context, in February 2010, Russian police opened an investigation into the www.Grani.ru portal, a platform for independent journalists and human rights activists. The same treatment was reserved for www.kompromat.ru and The Moscow Post website, which had reported a violent dispute between intoxicated senior police officials.Often a call from authorities is all it takes to obtain permission to delete content, or to block a website. Aleksandr Ovchinnikov, Director of the Web hosting company Masterhost, admitted that this practice exists.Cyber-attacks are commonplace. In January 2010, the www.Ingushetiyaru.org website was hacked just after it posted the last interview granted by Natalia Estemirova, the human rights activist murdered in July 2009. The same thing happened to the website of the Chechen magazine Dosh, just a few days after it was awarded the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize in December 2009. As for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper’s website, it was rendered inaccessible for more than a week at the end of January following a “highly organized and powerful” cyber-attack.”Propaganda and intimidationsVladimir Putin stated in January 2010 that “50% of Internet content is pornographic. Why, then, should we bother?” He denied Internet-relayed accusations that the October 2010 regional election results were falsified. Nonetheless, the government is omnipresent on the Web, and makes optimal use of the terrain. One of the star bloggers of RuNet – the Russian version of the Internet – is none other than President Dmitri Medvedev. In March 2008, local Ingush authorities created an Internet site with an address almost identical to that of the news site www.Ingushetiyaru.org in order to present a different version of the news that it was delivering.Government supporters are quick to react to criticisms posted online, “drowning” the latter in a sea of positive comments. The most virulent among them formed a group called the “Brigade,” of which some of them are paid members. They notably infiltrate discussion forums and sometimes discuss matters very harshly, not even hesitating to use insults and threats. In June 2009, economist Evgeni Gontmakher disclosed in The Moscow Times that he had been the target of “massive attacks” by bloggers paid by the government, after he criticized Vladislav Surkov, the First Deputy Chief of the Presidential Staff. In his opinion, “The modern Russian propaganda machine permeates nearly every major media outlet and even extends to the blogosphere.”Bloggers increasingly persecutedIn July 2008, blogger Savva Terentyev was charged with “belittling the human dignity of a social group” (in this instance, the police) and given a one-year probation. Irek Murtazin got a 21-month prison term for “defamation and incitement to hatred” for having posted a message implying that Mintimer Shaimiev, who was Tatarstan’s chief executive at the time, had died. The case was appealed to the Russian Supreme Court.Blogger Dimitri Soloviev was investigated for having “inciting hatred against the police and the FSB.” Charges were dropped in January 2010 after two years of legal proceedings. On September 1, 2009, the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Khakassia (in southwest Siberia) dropped the charges against Mikhail Afanasyev, editor of the Novy Focus website, who was accused of spreading “false rumors.” He had published news about the fatal explosion of a turbine at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant, which led to the death of 73 employees, and relayed criticisms of the manner in which the authorities had handled this tragedy.In December 2009, blogger Ivan Peregorodiev was arrested and indicted for “disseminating false information related to an act of terrorism” because he had discussed rumors on his blog, according to which victims of the A (H1N1) virus had actually died of the plague. Blogger Dmitri Kirilin, on the other hand, was charged with calling for “the overthrow of the existing political order, and making disrespectful comments about incumbent officials, notably Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.Aleksey Dymovsky, a police officer who denounced police corruption in a video message distributed over the Internet, became the subject of a criminal investigation in December 2009 for “abuse of power and fraud,” according to the public prosecutor’s office. He faces up to six years in prison.Vadim Charushev – The creator of Vkontakte, one of the country’s most popular social networks – was confined against his will in a psychiatric hospital in March 2009.Online journalist killedMagomed Yevloyev, one of the creators and the owner of the Ingush news website, http://ingushetiyaru.org, was killed in August 2008 while detained by the Ministry of the Interior’s security agents. The journalist had been arrested at the Nazran airport shortly after landing there. The airplane he had flown was also carrying the then-President of the Republic of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov. A few hours later, Magomed Yevloyev, who had been shot in the head, was admitted to the hospital where he later died on the operating table. This murder remains unpunished.A dynamic blogosphereIn November 2009, bloggers Oleg Kozyrev and Viktor Korb launched a “bloggers’ union” to protect netizens’ rights and freedoms. They have also conducted campaigns on behalf of imprisoned or prosecuted bloggers.Sometimes the Internet can fill the void left by traditional media outlets. In 2008, a report on the demolition of historic Moscow buildings whose residents were displaced to make room for new offices and business centers was partially censored by the authorities, and confidentially broadcast on the NTV channel. The video, on the other hand, was posted on RuTube (a YouTube clone), where it became a huge success, receiving over 200,000 hits in just a few days.The Internet is also a space for political mobilization. Roman Dobrokhotov, leader of the young Russian democrats movement “My” (“We”), an opposition party, stated that all of his activities are performed over the Internet via a Google group. It is easier to mobilize people online than it is in the street.The Internet has become a space in which people can denounce the corruption of Russian officials. Marina Litvinovitch, one of the leaders of the Civic United Front (CUF), an opposition party, posted on her blog an article objecting to the impunity enjoyed by a civil servant’s daughter in the Irkutsk region. She had caused a fatal car accident in December 2009, but had been treated as if she were only a witness in the case. Marina Litvinovitch launched an appeal to other bloggers, asking them to distribute that information by creating a link to her article or by reposting it, which many Internet users agreed to do. This initiative had the merit of making the public aware of this tragedy, and the blogger believes that the courts will no longer be able to avoid taking this matter seriously.For the moment, the impact of these online mobilizations, blogs and new media on Russian society is still relatively limited. The authorities’ attitude in the months to come will determine if the acts of censorship or intimidation and arrests are, or are not, indicative of a deliberate attempt to gain complete control of the new media. The introduction of Internet censorship in Russia would be that much more harmful in that it would spread throughout the region, with negative consequences on the right to inform and be informed in the Caucasus as well as in Central Asia, where censored netizens sometimes have access to the Russian Internet.Russian version: Organisation News Related documents Chapter_Russia_2010PDF – 72.84 KB Receive email alerts May 21, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information News Follow the news on Russia Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown June 2, 2021 Find out more RussiaEurope – Central Asia Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption May 5, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Al-Akhbar reporter held and interrogated illegally by defence ministry

first_img News News August 13, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Al-Akhbar reporter held and interrogated illegally by defence ministry February 4, 2021 Find out more November 11, 2020 Find out more LebanonMiddle East – North Africa LebanonMiddle East – North Africa Lebanese journalist found shot dead in car Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information to go furthercenter_img RSF_en The detention and interrogation of Hassan Allek, a reporter for the daily Al-Akhbar, by the defence ministry on 11 August were flagrant violations of media law, Reporters Without Borders said. They were prompted by a story by Allek that certain Lebanese government and military officials were cooperating with the Israeli intelligence services.Summoned to the defence ministry headquarters in mid-morning, Allek was taken into custody, interrogated by intelligence officers for several hours and finally released at the end of the afternoon. His interrogators tried in vain to get Allek to reveal his sources for the report. Allek’s lawyer was not allowed to attend.“Allek’s detention and interrogation were conducted in a completely arbitrary and illegal manner,” Reporters Without Borders said. “At the same time, the defence minister’s threats against him and the entire media profession raise doubts about a readiness to respect the rule of law on the part of those who are supposed to uphold it. This is disturbing for press freedom in Lebanon.”While Allek was still being interrogated, defence minister Elias Murr gave a news conference in the middle of the afternoon in which he announced that Allek would be charged with defamation and disseminating false information and warned that the same charges would be brought against any other journalist who made similar allegations against senior army officers on active duty.The procedure used with Allek was illegal under Lebanon’s 1974 decree-law on press freedom, which requires that any journalist suspected of defamation or reporting false information be interrogated before a judge and in the presence of his lawyer. Allek was not taken before a judge prior to his interrogation and no legal proceedings had been initiated when the defence minister made his public accusations against him. Organisation News Lebanon : Violence against reporters becoming more frequent in Lebanon January 14, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Lebanon Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” Newslast_img read more

Gunmen raid Al-Arabiya office in Ramallah, threaten staff

first_imgNews May 28, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders today condemned last night’s raid by gunmen on the bureau of the pan-Arab television news network Al-Arabiya in the West Bank city of Ramallah and called on the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to identify and punish those responsible.Five masked men armed with M-16 assault rifles, clubs and knives burst into the Al-Arabiya bureau at around 9:30 pm, herded the three employees present into one room, threatened them and smashed computer and office equipment.Claiming to belong to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the gunmen pointed their rifles at the heads of the employees and said: “This is a warning, the next time we will kill you.” They gave no further explanation. None of the employees was injured.The Palestinian police said they would investigate the incident. An individual claiming to be a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades called the TV station at about 3:00 a.m. today and denied that the group was behind the raid. Al-Arabiya has its headquarters in Dubai. Receive email alerts RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes PalestineMiddle East – North Africa Organisation June 3, 2021 Find out more PalestineMiddle East – North Africa to go further Follow the news on Palestinecenter_img Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists RSF_en News Help by sharing this information September 14, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Gunmen raid Al-Arabiya office in Ramallah, threaten staff WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists News News May 16, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Alarm about bill that would increase police search powers in Northern Ireland

first_img News Receive email alerts United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Organisation News Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about a bill currently being discussed by the Parliamentary Assembly of Northern Ireland. Entitled the “Draft policing – Miscellaneous Provisions (Northern Ireland) Order 2007,” it would extend the powers of the police to search and seize documents. The organisation wrote yesterday to Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain warning him about the threats that this bill poses to press freedom and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, and asking him to intervene to ensure that they do not materialise.“As you know, the work of journalists depends closely on their ability to protect the confidentiality of their sources,” the letter said. “This essential condition for investigative journalism is seriously threatened by this bill. The letter continued: “Under this law, the police would no longer have to produce such explicit evidence as they are currently required to show in order to obtain permission to carry out a search and seize documents. The new prerogatives would also allow them to confiscate documents or electronic files for a period of 48 hours, which could be extended to 96 hours if the files had to be translated or deciphered.Reporters Without Borders pointed out in the letter that journalists have been subject to harassment and threats and that controversial searches of premises and homes of journalists have taken place in recent years in Northern Ireland. “We are convinced that the adoption of this bill would do a great deal of harm to press freedom and the process of normalisation in this region,” the letter concluded.To find out more about this bill, read below an article written for Reporters Without Borders by british journalist Glyn Roberts :——————A bill is currently being discussed by the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, entitled the Draft policing – Miscellaneous Provisions (Northern Ireland) Order, which would considerably extend the powers of the police to search for and seize documents and computer files.The proposed new police powers could eventually be extended throughout the United Kingdom. They are contained in Article 13 of UK draft legislation entitled Draft Policing (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007. The order is currently being circulated for public consultation until January 22, and will then require parliamentary approval, subject to any amendments.It is expected to come into effect by the spring or summer of this year. These enhanced powers relate only to Northern Ireland, but the national situation regarding the threat of serious crime and terrorism is under review, and a government official in Northern Ireland Office said she understood that consideration might be given to extending the measures throughout the UK in the future. She said: “The police have requested these powers.” There remained a threat of serious and organised crime and terrorism, and the police felt they needed these powers due to the increasingly sophisticated nature of some serious crime. Paul Goggins, the Northern Ireland minister with responsibility for security, told members of the region’s legislative assembly last week that police would not be able to “go around willy-nilly seeking documents. There has to be a rationale”. He said that, having examined such documents or files, an officer must have “a reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place”. “We still feel that certain powers are needed to reflect the specific circumstances of Northern Ireland,” said Mr Goggins. “There’s a remaining threat, and it is that remaining threat that has to be taken seriously, whether that is in investigation of bomb-making equipment or in relation to organised criminality. It is a diminishing threat but it is still there, and the police have to have the powers to deal with it.”The proposed measures place less requirement upon police to demonstrate an explicit reason to suspect crime before they search for and seize records. Under the new powers, officers investigating a serious crime would be able to remove documents or electronic files from a property for examination. They could hold these for up to 48 hours to examine them, with the provision for a possible extension to 96 hours if necessary for reasons such as deciphering/translation.Journalists in Northern Ireland have protested at proposals to extend the powers of police to seize documents and computer files, saying the move could threaten press freedom and the protection of confidential sources of information. One local politician, Alex Attwood, security spokesman for the Social Democratic and Labour Party, says the plans could allow the police to “go into any building under a lawful search, and seize any document, even if there is no suspicion of that document being relevant to crime”.Séamus Dooley, Irish secretary of the London-based National Union of Journalists, said he would write a letter, expressing his concern, to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain. “The NUJ has a particular concern at the abuse of searches because of our past experience of ‘fishing expeditions’ by securityforces in raids on the homes of reporters and photographers,” said Mr Dooley. “We have experienced such behaviour in the past where notebooks were unlawfully seized. There must be an onus on the security forces not just to obtain a lawful warrant but also to justify the need for seizure. That need must be based on firmly grounded suspicions.”In relation to journalists the NUJ has a particular concern because of the threat to confidential sources posed by searches.”Mr Attwood had publicly criticised the proposals following a debate by the Northern Ireland legislative assembly’s policing and justice committee on Januray 8. He said: “How can you on the one hand normalise Northern Ireland society and on the other hand give the police this enormous power?” Mr Dooley said: “The NUJ shares Mr Atwood’s concerns at the proposed granting of extended powers of unrestricted seizure to the security forces. It would not be acceptable to grant powers of seizure, which take no account of the level of suspicion. The power to seize documents must not be abused, and care must be taken to ensure that the right to search is exercised only where there are grounds for suspicion.”He concluded that the “granting of unrestricted powers – far in excess of current anti-terror measures in England or Wales – cannot be justified at this time and would represent a serious assault on civil liberty”. to go further Follow the news on United Kingdom Journalists are concerned that the new powers will make it easier for police to conduct “fishing exercises” through the notes and computers of reporters and photographers – jeopardising press freedom and exposing journalists and their confidential contacts to potential threats. Two cases in recent years have drawn sharp protests from media workers.One website journalist, Anthony McIntyre, had his home raided in 2003 by police who took away his computer, disks and notebooks, saying they were looking for stolen documents. Mr McIntyre called it “political policing, censorship and a trawl for my contacts”. He got his property back after protesting that the raid was unlawful.Liam Clarke, the Northern Ireland editor of London’s Sunday Times, and his wife Kathryn Johnston had their home raided in 2003 after they published leaked transcripts of telephone conversations between a senior Republican politician and government officials. Mr Clarke says the authorities had sought to create a “chill factor” by using heavy-handed policing to stifle investigative reporting. But the couple complained to the Police Ombudsman who ruled the police action unlawful – leading, in September 2006, to a compensation payment by the police.Glyn Roberts United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Solidarity with Swedish media outlet Realtid ahead of UK defamation case hearing March 23, 2021 Find out more Safety of journalists remains active concern in Northern Ireland as BBC Panorama team is threatened News January 19, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Alarm about bill that would increase police search powers in Northern Ireland News RSF condemns BBC broadcast ban as example of Chinese government reprisal RSF_en February 12, 2021 Find out more February 11, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Two French journalists still trapped in besieged Syrian city

first_img Help by sharing this information March 12, 2021 Find out more News SyriaMiddle East – North Africa SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Although British journalist Paul Conroy and Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa have safely reached Lebanon, French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels are still trapped in the Syrian city of Homs, where they have been since 22 February.Reporters Without Borders is becoming increasingly concerned for their safety, because of the constant bombardments and fighting, and because Bouvier is injured.Bouvier and Daniels have made no direct public statements since the video that was released on 23 February. Their silence is disturbing and, as it leaves considerable room for rumour, caution is required.The statements that news media and politicians have attributed to Bouvier and Daniels in the past 36 hours, which cannot be verified, could jeopardize their safety and the success of the negotiations aimed at securing their evacuation.Bouvier’s situation is above all a medical one. She needs to be transported to a secure location in order to be operated on. But Daniels must not be forgotten. From the outset, he chose to stay with Bouvier although he was not injured. It is thanks to him that we have so far been able to obtain news. The two went to Syria together and they will return together.The delicacy of the situation demands the utmost discretion. We appeal to everyone to be responsible. Organisation March 1, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two French journalists still trapped in besieged Syrian city Related documents Two French journalists still trapped in besieged Syrian city – Arabic versionPDF – 30.95 KB RSF_en Receive email alerts Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law News News Follow the news on Syria News Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists to go further March 8, 2021 Find out more Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria February 3, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Homemade bomb attack on home of journalist who covers corruption

first_img Help by sharing this information to go further Latin America’s community radio – a key service but vulnerable Follow the news on Peru RSF_en PeruAmericas PeruAmericas News A homemade bomb badly damaged journalist Edvan Ríos Chanca’s home in Huancayo, in the central region of Junín, at dawn yesterday, shaking but not injuring its four inhabitants, one of them a child, according to regional newspapers and the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), which defends freedom of expression and information.“We condemn this attack and demand a full investigation into its origin and perpetrators,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Some newspapers say the police think the bombing was the result of a personal grudge. We urge the authorities not to neglect the possibility of a link to the sensitive stories Ríos has covered.”Ríos currently works for the weekly Hildebrandt en sus Trece, and until recently worked for Correo de Huancayo, a daily for which he often covered local corruption stories.Covering such a sensitive issue as corruption exposes journalists to serious and even fatal reprisals in a country such as Peru, where the level of violence and impunity is high. Violations of freedom of information are often blamed on local government officials or their henchmen.The hostile environment for the media is compounded by the many abusive judicial proceedings and the fact that press offences have still not been decriminalized.Photo: diariocorreo.pe Receive email alerts December 11, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Homemade bomb attack on home of journalist who covers corruptioncenter_img China’s diplomats must stop attacking media over coronavirus reporting December 4, 2019 Find out more Organisation February 10, 2017 Find out more Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites April 1, 2020 Find out more News News Newslast_img read more