Europe & Central Asia

2005


Letters   |   Russia

NGO bill is 'deeply troubling'

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a bill before you that seeks to dramatically expand state control over nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including those dedicated to promoting press freedom and supporting independent media. The bill emerges at a politically sensitive time, as the Kremlin prepares for the 2007 parliamentary election and the 2008 presidential election. The proposed restrictions appear to attack political pluralism and public dissent in Russia.

December 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Law criminalizes criticism of the state and Lukashenko

New York, December 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores a new law that makes criticism of authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his government punishable by up to five years in prison. Lukashenko secretly signed the amendments to the penal code on December 15. They were registered on December 20 and will become law at the end of the year, the Minsk-based human rights organization Charter 97 said in a statement.
December 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Court suspends opposition paper for insulting the president

New York, December 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists voiced outrage at the censorship of the Kazakh opposition newspaper Zhuma-Taims which has reported on vote rigging and corruption in the government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Economic Court in Almaty suspended the paper's print-run in a December 20 ruling, according to the Kazakh International Bureau for Human Rights & Rule of Law (KIBHRRL). The newspaper was not notified of the hearing and was not represented in court.
December 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Albania

Bomb damages office of popular daily newspaper

New York, December 19, 2005—An explosion on Sunday evening damaged the Tirana headquarters of Shekulli, Albania's most popular independent daily, but staff members escaped injury, according to international press reports.

Editor-in-Chief Robert Rakipllari said 15 staff members were working when the bomb exploded outside the newspaper building, The Associated Press reported. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, nor had anyone made any recent threats against the newspaper. "I'm sure this was some type of warning, but I can't explain it," Rakipllari told the AP.
December 19, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Jailed journalist finally freed after bureaucratic obstruction

New York, December 16, 2005—A Tajik journalist ordered released last month by the Supreme Court was finally freed today, a move welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Jumaboy Tolibov left a detention center in the town of Istarafshan in the northern region of Sogd, according to a local CPJ legal source and the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), a press freedom group based in the capital Dushanbe. Tolibov was jailed in April 2005 after criticizing a local prosecutor in three newspaper articles in 2004.
December 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

As Gongadze proceedings start, CPJ says much work remains


New York, December 16, 2005—As court proceedings are about to begin against three defendants in the 2000 murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges Ukrainian authorities to identify and prosecute all those responsible for plotting the brutal slaying.

Preliminary hearings are set to begin on Monday in Kyiv against former police officers Valery Kostenko, Nikolai Protasov, and Aleksandr Popovych, according to international news reports. A fourth suspect, Gen. Aleksandr Pukach, former head of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, is being sought on an arrest warrant, the news agency Interfax reported.
December 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Polish journalist deported

New York, December 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the deportation from Belarus of Polish television journalist Agnieszka Romaszewska. She was deported on Wednesday from Minsk airport. She was detained at the airport on Tuesday when she flew into the country. Romaszewska had been working for the past six months in Belarus as the correspondent of Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska, according to local and international press reports.
December 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalists face criminal prosecution

New York, December 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the recent prosecution of journalists under laws that criminalize comment about the Turkish state, its institutions, and history.

In the past three months, the authorities have used the catch-all provisions of Article 301 of the penal code to stifle writing about the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 90 years ago, and articles critical of the judiciary and the military. According to CPJ research at least eight journalists have been convicted of, or face criminal charges, under Article 301 despite official promises to end criminal prosecutions of journalists.
December 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Serbia

Serbian soldiers convicted in 1991 slaughter of civilians, journalists

New York, December 13, 2005—The War Crimes Chamber of the district court in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, convicted 14 former soldiers Monday on charges of torturing and executing Croatian civilians, including at least two journalists, in neighboring Croatia in 1991, according to international press reports.

The defendants were given prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years for the massacre of more than 200 prisoners of war at an abandoned farm outside the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar. Two other defendants were acquitted.

December 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Accreditation of last independent foreign broadcaster withheld

New York, December 12, 2005—Uzbekistan today denied accreditation to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), silencing the last independent foreign broadcaster reporting from the country. The Foreign Ministry wrote the U.S.-funded radio station that it would not renew accreditation for its Tashkent bureau and would withdraw the current press cards of four RFE/RL correspondents in the country.

The government of President Islam Karimov has pursued independent journalists since foreign media carried news of the May 13 massacre in the northeastern city of Andijan, where government forces shot and killed between 500 and 1,000 demonstrators, according to eyewitnesses and human rights groups. The BBC closed its Tashkent office in late October citing government harassment.
December 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Authorities ignore second Supreme Court order to free journalist

New York, December 9, 2005—Tajik authorities have ignored a second Supreme Court order to release jailed independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov, according to a local CPJ legal source, who is monitoring the case.

The court ruled on October 11 and again on November 28 that Tolibov should be freed from a detention center in the town of Istarafshan in the northern region of Sogd. But the Prosecutor General's Office in the capital Dushanbe has effectively blocked his release, the source said. Tolibov was jailed in April this year after criticizing a local prosecutor in three newspaper articles in 2004.
December 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Croatia

Newspaper editor receives death threat for reporting on war crimes

New York, December 8, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by an anonymous death threat made against Drago Hedl, editor of the independent Croatian satirical weekly Feral Tribune. Hedl said on Wednesday he received a letter mailed December 5 in his home city of Osijek that in letters cut from newspapers threatened to kill him and his source, local and international press reported.

The letter alluded to Milan Levar, an ethnic Serb, who was killed in a 2000 explosion after testifying before the Hague-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia about war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia.
December 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Belarus

CPJ condemns draft law to silence government criticism

New York, December 7, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by draft legislation that makes criticism of authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his government punishable by up to five years in prison. The lower house of parliament passed amendments to the Penal Code on December 2, a move criticized by the United States and European Union. The upper house is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday before it is sent to Lukashenko for signing.
December 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Preliminary hearing held in Klebnikov murder trial

New York, December 6, 2005—The Moscow City Court today held a preliminary hearing behind closed doors for three men accused in the July 2004 murder of Forbes Russia editor-in-chief Paul Klebnikov. The court ordered a jury trial to begin December 29, Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy reported.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged prosecutors to reconsider a November decision to hold the trial in camera.

December 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

NOVEMBER 29, 2005
Posted: December 1, 2005

Olga Romanova, Ren-TV
HARASSED

Romanova said at a press conference in Moscow that she was concerned for her safety and that of her two children. She said that she had been followed by a black Audi since filing a criminal complaint with the Khamovnicheskii inter-district prosecutor on November 28 against the three security guards who prevented her from entering the Ren-TV office on November 24. She filed the criminal complaint under Article 144 of the Criminal Code on obstructing labor activities. Romanova also said that she did not feel safe in Ren-TV premises because the same three security guards were following her around the office.
November 29, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

TV anchor taken off air for critical news reporting

New York, November 28, 2005—Moscow-based Ren-TV has taken news anchor Olga Romanova off the air after she criticized the privately owned station for censoring her news coverage. Romanova said three security guards prevented her from entering the TV station on November 24 to host her evening news program "24," according to local and international news reports.

Romanova said her program was dropped shortly after she publicly criticized Ren-TV management for blocking reports that they believed might anger the Kremlin. One such story was the decision by authorities not to prosecute the son of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov for killing an elderly pedestrian in a car accident in May, Romanova told the private Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy.
November 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Trial of Klebnikov murder suspects to be held in secretCPJ urges open proceeding

New York, November 22, 2005—Two Chechen men charged in the July 2004 slaying of Forbes Russia editor Paul Klebnikov in Moscow will be tried in secret at the direction of the Russian prosecutor general, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged prosecutors to reconsider the decision and hold the proceedings in public.
November 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

NOVEMBER 10, 2005
POSTED: December 2, 2005

Aleksei Volosevich, Ferghana.ru
ATTACKED

Five unidentified men attacked Volosevich, one of the few independent reporters still working in Uzbekistan who witnessed the Andijan massacre, near his apartment in the capital Tashkent. Volosevich, is a correspondent for the Moscow-based Central Asia news Web site Ferghana.ru.. He told CPJ the men knocked him to the ground, kicked him, and then doused him with paint which temporarily blinded him. Volosevich, 38, was not hospitalized.
November 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

CPJ condemns attack on independent journalist

New York, November 10, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the assault of journalist Aleksei Volosevich, one of the few independent reporters still working in Uzbekistan who witnessed the Andijan massacre.

Volosevich, correspondent for the Moscow-based Central Asia news Web site Ferghana.ru, was attacked by five unidentified men near his apartment in the capital Tashkent on Wednesday. He told CPJ the men knocked him to the ground, kicked him, and then doused him with paint which temporarily blinded him. Volosevich, 38, was not hospitalized.
November 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ condemns press abuses during Azerbaijani election

New York, November 9, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a series of abuses against the press before and during Sunday’s fraud-marred parliamentary election in Azerbaijan. Government officials blocked at least three foreign news agencies from deploying satellite equipment that would have enabled live coverage, while harassing several local journalists who were trying to cover the vote, according to local and international news reports.
November 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

European court holds Ukrainian government liable in Gongadze case

New York, November 9, 2005—The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday found the Ukrainian government liable for 100,000 euros in damages in a lawsuit filed by the widow of slain journalist Georgy Gongadze. The court found in favor of Myroslava Gongadze, who claimed the government failed to protect her husband and then failed to properly investigate his 2000 abduction and murder.
November 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

OCTOBER 26, 2005
Posted: December 2, 2005

BBC
Deutsche Welle
The Associated Press
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

HARASSED

The BBC World Service closed its Tashkent office and withdrew staff because of continued harassment by authorities because of its reporting on the May 13 massacre in the northeast city of Andijan. Other local and foreign media have been intimidated since the killing of between 500 and 1000 anti-government protesters by troops.
October 26, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

CPJ condemns harassment of BBC and foreign media

New York, October 26, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the government harassment of foreign media in Uzbekistan, which today prompted the BBC to close its Tashkent bureau. The BBC World Service said it would immediately close its office and withdraw staff because of continued harassment since its reporting of the May 13 massacre in the northeast city of Andijan. Other local and foreign media have been intimidated since the killing of between 500 and 1000 anti-government protesters by troops.
October 26, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Journalist found dead in apartment

New York, October 20, 2005—Vasily Grodnikov, a freelancer who wrote for the Minsk opposition newspaper Narodnaya Volya, was found dead with a head wound in his apartment outside Minsk on Monday, local and international news agencies reported.

CPJ is seeking to determine whether Grodnikov, 66, was murdered in retaliation for his journalistic work.

Authorities have harassed Narodnaya Volya in retaliation for its criticism of President Aleksandr Lukashenko. State-run kiosks are not permitted to sell the newspaper and authorities recently ended its printing contract, forcing it to use a printer in the neighboring Russian city of Smolensk.
October 20, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Journalist still behind bars despite Supreme Court release order

New York, October 19, 2005—The Prosecutor General's Office in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, is blocking the release of independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov despite a Supreme Court ruling on October 11 setting him free, a local press freedom group said.

The National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), a Dushanbe-based press freedom group which has been monitoring Tolibov's case, said that Tolibov was being held in a detention center in the town of Istarafshan in the northern region of Sogd. Tolibov was jailed after criticizing a local prosecutor in three newspaper articles in 2004.
October 19, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Letters   |   Russia

CPJ protests official harassment of independent newspaper reporting on Chechnya war

Your Excellency, The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a campaign of harassment and intimidation against Stanislav Dmitriyevsky in retaliation for his newspaper's reporting on the war in Chechnya. The persecution of Dmitriyevsky is part of a broader government campaign to obstruct the work of independent media reporting on Chechnya.

October 17, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Croatia

Journalist released from prison; pleads not guilty at UN tribunal

New York, October 14, 2005—Croatian authorities released Josip Jovic from prison on Thursday after he agreed to respond to contempt charges at the Hague-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, according to local and international press reports.

Jovic, former editor-in-chief of the Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija, traveled to Holland today and pleaded not guilty to defying Tribunal gag orders against publishing the identity and testimony of a protected witness. He was allowed to return to Croatia after the hearing.
October 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Journalist released from prison after court ruling

Editor's note: The original text of this alert has been corrected to accurately characterize Minbar i Halq.

New York, October 12, 2005—The Supreme Court on Tuesday partially overturned the July 28 conviction of independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov and ordered his immediate release, according to local press reports. Tolibov's six-month imprisonment was seen as retaliation for criticizing a prosecutor, and it came amid an ongoing government crackdown on the media.

October 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalist convicted on charge of ‘insulting Turkish identity'

New York, October 12, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the conviction of a Turkish-Armenian journalist on a charge of "insulting and weakening Turkish identity through the media" An Istanbul court on Friday sentenced Hrant Dink, 52, editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, to a six-month suspended term. Dink and his lawyer, Fethiye Cetin, plan to appeal.

The charges stemmed from a series of articles Dink wrote in early 2004 dealing with the collective memory of the Armenian massacres of 1915-1917 under the Ottoman Empire. He called on Armenians to move beyond historical anger toward Turks and "turn to the new blood of independent Armenia."
October 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Turkey

TURKEY

OCTOBER 7, 2005
Posted October 18, 2005

Hrant Dink, Agos

LEGAL ACTION

A Turkish-Armenian journalist was convicted of "insulting and weakening Turkish identity through the media" An Istanbul court sentenced Dink, 52, editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, to a six-month suspended term. Dink and his lawyer, Fethiye Cetin, said they appeal.
October 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Croatia

Journalist arrested; facing extradition to UN war crimes tribunal

New York, October 7, 2005—A Croatian journalist was arrested Thursday and faces extradition to the Hague-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after being accused of identifying a protected witness and failing to appear at a hearing on a contempt of court charge.

Croatian police in the southern city of Split arrested Josip Jovic, the former editor-in-chief of the Split daily Slobodna Dalmacija, acting on a September 28 arrest warrant issued by the Tribunal, according to local press reports.
October 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalist beaten and warned to halt investigation

New York, October 7, 2005 — The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned an attack on a Ukrainian television reporter by an unidentified assailant who warned her to stop investigating the political party headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. Reporter Natalya Vlasova of 34 Kanal, a television station in the eastern industrial city of Dnepropetrovsk, was attacked on Tuesday in a downtown street, and repeatedly hit in the head and chest, her editor Ruslan Uralov told CPJ. She is in hospital with concussion and bruising.
October 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Ukraine

UKRAINE

OCTOBER 4, 2005
Posted October 11, 2005

Natalya Vlasova, 34 Kanal
ATTACKED

Reporter Natalya Vlasova of 34 Kanal, a television station in the eastern industrial city of Dnepropetrovsk, was attacked in a downtown street by an unidentified assailant who warned her to stop investigating the political party headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. Vlasova was hit repeatedly in the head and chest, her editor Ruslan Uralov told CPJ. She was hospitalized with concussion and bruising.
October 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Journalist released after serving criminal libel sentence

New York, September 28, 2005 – Eduard Abrosimov was released from prison two weeks early on Wednesday after a court in the southern Russian city of Saratov upheld his criminal libel conviction and reduced his sentence from seven months to time served.

Abrosimov, a journalist and adviser to former regional governor Dmitry Ayatskov, was convicted by a Saratov arbitration court of criminal defamation on June 22 for libeling public officials in two articles published last year in national and local newspapers, according to local press reports. One count of defamation was based on draft material that had not been published.

September 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

As Kazakhstan vote nears, six papers blocked from publishing

New York, September 27, 2005—Six newspapers that have covered an opposition candidate's presidential campaign were prevented on Monday from publishing their current editions, according to local and international press reports. Managers at the private printing company Vremya-Print in the financial capital of Almaty refused to explain why they would not publish Epokha, Svoboda Slova, Zhuma-taims, Apta.kz, Azat, and Soz.
September 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Kazakhstan

KAZAKHSTAN

SEPTEMBER 26, 2005
Posted October 17, 2005

Epokha
Svoboda Slova
Zhuma-taims
Apta.kz
Azat
Soz
.

CENSORED

Six newspapers that have covered an opposition candidate's presidential campaign were prevented from publishing their current editions, according to local and international press reports. Managers at the private printing company Vremya-Print in the financial capital of Almaty refused to explain why they would not publish Epokha, Svoboda Slova, Zhuma-taims, Apta.kz, Azat, and Soz.
September 26, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Inquiry names Kuchma as mastermind in Gongadze murder

New York, September 22, 2005—A Ukrainian parliamentary commission investigating the 2000 kidnapping and beheading of journalist Georgy Gongadze has accused former President Leonid Kuchma and three senior officials of plotting the murder. In an announcement to parliament on Tuesday the commission named Kuchma, late former Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko, Parliament Speaker Vladimir Litvin, and Leonid Derkach, former head of the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) as the masterminds of Gongadze's murder.
September 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

CPJ demands end to Uzbek government's crackdown on media


New York, September 22, 2005—
The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on President Islam Karimov to stop scapegoating the press and to end his government's campaign of intimidation and repression against the independent media. The government crackdown, which has targeted several international news organizations in dozens of incidents over four months, is part of a broad effort to obscure the full extent of the May 13 massacre in the eastern city of Andijan.

September 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Dmitry Kholodov's parents allege improprieties in investigation

New York, September 21, 2005—The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear charges that Russian authorities failed to properly investigate and prosecute the 1994 murder of Moscow reporter Dmitry Kholodov, the journalist's parents told the Committee to Protect Journalists today.

Kholodov, a reporter for the independent newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, was killed in October 1994 after investigating alleged corruption involving high-ranking military leaders, including then-Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Six defendants, four of them military officers, were tried in Russian courts but acquitted.

September 21, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

CPJ condemns closure of Internews


New York, September 12, 2005
– The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned a civil court ruling ordering the closure of the Tashkent office of Internews Network, a U.S.-based media training and advocacy organization. Internews said the court made its ruling on Friday on the basis of the August 4, 2005 criminal conviction of two Internews employees for technical violations such as broadcasting without a license and using an unregistered logo.

September 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

SEPTEMBER 9, 2005
Posted October 17, 2005

Internews Network
Legal Action

A civil court ordered the closure of the Tashkent office of Internews Network, a U.S.-based media training and advocacy organization. Internews said the court made its ruling on the basis of the August 4, 2005 criminal conviction of two Internews employees for technical violations such as broadcasting without a license and using an unregistered logo.
September 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

SEPTEMBER 3, 2005
Posted September 8, 2005

Bert Sundstrom, SVT television, Sweden
Legal Action

Sundstrom, a correspondent for Swedish public broadcaster SVT in Moscow for the past three years, was forced to leave on September 3 after the government refused to extend his visa.
September 3, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

SEPTEMBER 1, 2005
Posted September 2, 2005

Yuri Bagrov, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Harassment

Bagrov was prevented by Russian police from covering the first anniversary of the Beslan school hostage tragedy. Bagrov, a North Caucasus correspondent for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, told CPJ he was held for four hours after arriving in the north Ossetian town of Beslan, where thousands had gathered to mourn the 331 victims of the siege of School No. 1 a year ago. Bagrov was released after questioning but he was unable to cover the anniversary. He said police told him he did not have proper accreditation.
September 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Radio Liberty reporter barred from Beslan anniversary

New York, September 1, 2005— The Committee to Protect Journalists voiced outrage at the unrelenting harassment of reporter Yuri Bagrov who was prevented by Russian police today from covering the first anniversary of the Beslan school hostage tragedy.

Bagrov, a North Caucasus correspondent for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, told CPJ he was held for four hours after arriving in the north Ossetian town of Beslan, where thousands have gathered to mourn the 331 victims of the siege of School No. 1 a year ago. Bagrov was released after questioning but he was unable to cover the anniversary. He said police told him he did not have proper accreditation.

September 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

AUGUST 30, 2005
Posted September 2, 2005

Nosir Zokirov, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
IMPRISONED

Nosir Zokirov, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was sentenced to six months in prison for insulting a security officer. Zokirov, an Uzbek who has worked for the radio's local language service for eight years, was summoned to court in the eastern city of Namangan on August 26 on charges of insulting a National Security Service (NSS) officer in a telephone call. Zokirov was detained, tried without counsel or witnesses, sentenced and imprisoned all on August 26.
August 30, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Reporter jailed for "insulting" security officer

New York, August 30, 2005—An Uzbek court sentenced a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to six months in prison for insulting a security officer, the radio said today. Nosir Zokirov, an Uzbek who has worked for the radio's local language service for eight years, was summoned to court in the eastern city of Namangan on August 26 on charges of insulting a National Security Service (NSS) officer in a telephone call, RFE/RL said in a statement. Zokirov was detained, tried without counsel or witnesses, sentenced and imprisoned all on August 26.
August 30, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Tajikistan

TAJIKISTAN

AUGUST 25, 2005
Posted: August 29, 2005

Mukhtor Bokizoda, Nerui Sukhan

LEGAL ACTION

A judge in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, convicted the editor of the shuttered opposition newspaper on theft charges, sentencing him to two years of "corrective" labor, fining him, and garnishing part of his wages.
August 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Editor of independent weekly sentenced to two years corrective labor

New York, August 25, 2005—A judge in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, convicted the editor of a shuttered opposition newspaper on theft charges today, sentencing him to two years of "corrective" labor, fining him, and garnishing part of his wages. The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the verdict, calling the charges politically motivated.

Mukhtor Bokizoda told CPJ he would appeal today's verdict, which comes several weeks after the government shut down the weekly Nerui Sukhan (Power of the Word). Bokizoda is also chairman of the Foundation for the Memory and Protection of Journalists, a press freedom group.

August 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Journalist sentenced to five years in prison camp released

New York, August 24, 2005—A court in the central Russian city of Smolensk has released independent journalist Nikolai Goshko who was sentenced in June to five years in a prison camp for criminal defamation. Goshko told CPJ today that he was surprised by the August 19 release order, which came after the prosecution agreed to change criminal defamation to the lesser charge of criminal insult.
August 24, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Court upholds two-year prison sentence for journalist

New York, August 17, 2005—A district court in Moscow upheld the conviction of editor and writer Pavel Lyuzakov on Tuesday, sentencing him to two years in a prison colony for illegal possession of a pistol. The journalist and colleagues say the charges against him were politically motivated and filed in retaliation for his criticism of Kremlin policies in Chechnya, according to the Moscow business daily Kommersant.

August 17, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Belarus

BELARUS

AUGUST 16, 2005
Posted October 31, 2005

Pavel Morozov, Andrei Obozov, Oleg Minich

HARASSED, CENSORED

On August 16, the city prosecutor's office in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, launched a criminal case against a Web site that published a series of animated Internet cartoons satirizing Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The case was opened under Article 367 of the Belarusian penal code, "Defaming the President of the Republic of Belarus," according to local press reports.
August 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Authorities deport Russian journalist

New York, August 15, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the deportation of Russian journalist Igor Rotar, who was detained by Uzbek authorities in Tashkent on Thursday and put on a plane bound for Almaty, Kazakhstan, late the next day, according to local and international press reports.

Uzbek security and immigration officials detained Rotar when he arrived at the Tashkent airport, holding him incommunicado for most of two days. In an interview today with the Moscow-based news Web site Fergana.ru, Rotar said that he received no explanation for his detention and that he refused to leave the country voluntarily. Rotar had traveled to Uzbekistan on assignment for Forum 18, a human rights news Web site based in Oslo, Norway.
August 15, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Russian journalist detained upon arrival; held incommunicado

New York, August 12, 2005—Uzbek authorities at the airport in the capital, Tashkent, detained Russian journalist Igor Rotar on Thursday and were holding him today, according to his news organization and international press reports.

Rotar, a Central Asia correspondent for several Russian newspapers and Western Web sites, was detained by border guards after arriving at 10:25 a.m. on a flight from neighboring Kyrgyzstan, according to Forum 18, a human rights news Web site based in Oslo, Norway. Rotar was on a routine assignment for Forum 18 when he was detained, Assistant Editor John Kinahan told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
August 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

AUGUST 11-12, 2005
Posted: August 18, 2005

Igor Rotar. Forum 18

HARASSED, EXPELLED

Russian journalist Igor Rotar, who was detained by Uzbek authorities in Tashkent on August 11 and put on a plane bound for Almaty, Kazakhstan, late the next day, according to local and international press reports.
August 11, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Belarus

Polish photojournalist expelled, banned from Belarus for five years

New York, August 8, 2005—A Polish photojournalist was expelled from Belarus on Saturday and banned from the country for five years. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today it is disturbed by the expulsion of Adam Tuchlinksi, 25, of the weekly news magazine Przekroj.

Belarusian security agents detained Tuchlinksi as he was about to board a Poland-bound train in the western city of Grodno, according to international reports. Agents took him to a local police station where he was held for several hours and told he lacked proper accreditation to work in Belarus. He returned to Poland on a later train on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

August 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

AUGUST 6, 2005
Posted: August 9, 2005

Adam Tuchlinksi, Przekroj
.
EXPELLED

Tuchlinksi, photojournalist for the weekly Polish news magazine Przekroj, was expelled from Belarus and banned from the country for five years.
August 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Court convicts Internews staffers, rejects office closure

New York, August 5, 2005—A judge in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, convicted two staffers of Internews Network, a U.S.-based media training and advocacy organization, on Thursday of producing television programming without a license and publishing information illegally. Former Internews director Khalida Anarbayeva and accountant Olga Narmuradova will not have to serve the prescribed six-month jail sentences under terms of a presidential amnesty covering women, but they will have criminal records, according to press reports and CPJ sources.
August 5, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Letters   |   Russia

CPJ calls on minister to reverse ABC decision

Dear Minister Lavrov: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Foreign Ministry's pattern of using accreditation, visa and other regulations to control and intimidate journalists reporting on the war in Chechnya for foreign media. The Foreign Ministry escalated this campaign against foreign news media by moving this week to bar the U.S. television network ABC from reporting in Russia.

August 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

AUGUST 2, 2005
Posted: August 9, 2005

ABC
Andrei Babitsky, ABC

HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION

The Foreign Ministry announced steps to bar the U.S. television network ABC from reporting in Russia. The ministry said in a statement that ABC reporters had been denied access to government officials and that their accreditations will not be renewed when they expire. Russian authorities took the steps after the network broadcast an interview with Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev on its news program, "Nightline," on July 28.
August 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Kremlin moves to bar ABC from reporting in Russia

New York, August 2, 2005—The Kremlin escalated its campaign of intimidation against foreign news media covering the war in Chechnya as authorities began moving today to bar the U.S. television network ABC from reporting in Russia. The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the decision and called for its reversal.

August 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Prosecutor says Gongadze probe moves to new phase

New York, August 2, 2005—The Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office announced last night that it has completed the first part of its investigation into the 2000 murder of Georgy Gongadze, editor of the independent news Web site Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth).

Yuri Boychenko, a spokesman for the prosecutor, said yesterday that authorities have identified the suspects who carried out Gongadze's murder and the case may soon go to court, according to local press reports. Two of the three suspects in the killing—police officers Nikolai Protasov and Valery Kostenko—are in custody. An arrest warrant has been issued for the other suspect, Gen. Aleksandr Pukach, former head of the criminal investigation department at the Ministry of Interior.
August 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Tajikistan

TAJIKISTAN

JULY 28, 2005
Posted: August 2, 2005

Jumaboy Tolibov, freelance

IMPRISONED

A judge in northern Tajikistan sentenced independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov to two years in a prison colony on charges of hooliganism, illegally entering a residence, and abusing his office as a local government administrator, according to local and international reports. The defense said it intended to appeal the verdict.
August 2, 2005 12:00 AM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

JULY 18, 2005
Posted: August 2, 2005

Khalida Anarbayeva, Internews Network
Olga Narmuradova, Internews Network

LEGAL ACTION

Former director Anarbayeva and accountant Narmuradova went on trial July 18 at the Yakkasaroy District Court in Tashkent. They faced up to six months in prison if convicted on charges of publishing information and producing videos without a license. The U.S.-based media training and advocacy group disputed the charges.
August 2, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

JULY 18, 2005
Posted: August 2, 2005

Erkin Yakubjanov, International Media Support

IMPRISONED

Yakubjanov was detained for 11 days without charge. Yakubjanov was taken into custody by Uzbek border guards at the Dustlik checkpoint as he tried to cross into the Uzbek side of the Ferghana Valley. Yakubjanov was traveling to Andijan to prepare a report for the radio project "Dolina Mira" (Valley of Peace), which is supported by the Danish media organization International Media Support (IMS). Border guards detained him, claiming he tried to interview them without proper accreditation, IMS representative Michael Andersen told CPJ.
August 2, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Letters   |   Uzbekistan

Uzbek leader urged to end harassment of independent press

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about your regime's ongoing crackdown on independent journalists and media. Your government's actions are especially troubling in the aftermath of the May 13 unrest in the northeast city of Andijan, during which security forces opened fire on antigovernment demonstrators, killing between 500 and 1,000 civilians, according to local and international human rights organizations and eyewitness accounts.

August 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Foreign Ministry summons U.S. diplomat after ABC report

New York, July 29, 2005—The Russian Foreign Ministry today issued a formal complaint to a U.S. diplomat, a day after the ABC News program "Nightline" aired an interview with Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev, according to international news reports. Already this year, Russian authorities have pressured both Britain and Sweden after independent media in those countries aired interviews with the rebel leader.

July 29, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Journalist sentenced to two years in prison

New York, July 29, 2005—A judge in northern Tajikistan yesterday sentenced independent journalist Jumaboy Tolibov to two years in a prison colony on charges of hooliganism, illegally entering a residence, and abusing his office as a local government administrator, according to local and international reports. The defense intends to appeal the verdict.

Nuriddin Karshiboyev, head of the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), told CPJ that his group believes the charges were fabricated as retaliation for three published commentaries last year in which Tolibov criticized Ayni district prosecutor Sabit Azamov. Karshiboyev called the imprisonment a blow to Tajik journalists' right to investigate the record of public officials.

July 29, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Serbia

SERBIA and MONTENEGRO

JULY 14, 2005
Posted: July 18, 2005

B92
THREATENED

An anonymous caller told a security guard at the Belgrade-based independent radio and television station that a bomb would explode in an hour inside the station's offices because of its "anti-Serb campaign," according to local news reports and CPJ interviews.
July 18, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Alerts   |   Serbia

Belgrade broadcaster forced to evacuate following threat

New York, July 15, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a bomb threat made late Thursday night against the Belgrade-based independent radio and television station B92.

An anonymous caller told a B92 security guard that a bomb would explode in an hour inside the station's offices because of its "anti-Serb campaign," according to local news reports and CPJ interviews.

B92 director Veran Matic told CPJ in a telephone interview today that about 15 staffers were evacuated from the premises for about two hours while the police examined the building and its surroundings. No explosive devices were found.

July 15, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ seeks investigation into cameraman's death at drag-race site

New York, July 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for a thorough and aggressive investigation into the death of Pavel Makeev, 21, a cameraman for Puls television in the southern Russian town of Azov. Makeev's body was found alongside a road on the outskirts of the Rostov Region town on May 21, shortly after he arrived to film illegal drag-race competitions. Authorities have classified the death as a traffic accident, but colleagues believe he was killed purposely to thwart his report, according to local press reports and CPJ interviews.

July 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

The Moscow Declaration

e, the relatives and colleagues of journalists murdered in Russia, along with Russian and international press freedom advocates, who convened for a conference in Moscow on July 7, 2005, declare the following:

The lack of progress in investigating journalist murders undermines freedom and democracy in Russia, and demonstrates the lawlessness and impunity with which Russian and international media can be targeted.

Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ urges Putin to end ‘era of impunity’ in journalist murders

Moscow, July 8, 2005—A delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists today called on President Vladimir Putin to end a deplorable era of impunity for the murder of journalists during his five-year tenure.

"We are calling on President Putin to ensure that the Prosecutor-General's Office makes greater progress in solving these brutal murders," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper, who led the four-member delegation to Moscow. "These murders have sown fear and self-censorship among independent media. Russia's democratic development and international image will remain tarnished until the police and prosecutors do more to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these killings."

July 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Editor hospitalized after beating by two attackers

New York, July 6, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by an attack against Nikolai Kochurov, editor-in-chief of Severodvinsk's independent newspaper, Severodvinsky Rabochy, who was beaten by two unidentified assailants on June 28.

Kochurov remained hospitalized today with head and arm injuries after being struck with a heavy object by assailants who were waiting in the entry to his apartment building as the journalist left for work that morning, according to several local news reports. Police in Severodvinsk, a city in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia, opened a criminal case but did not immediately identify suspects.

July 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Belarus

Opposition daily hit by three libel judgments

New York, July 5, 2005—A district court in Minsk has handed down judgments against the opposition daily Narodnaya Volya (The People's Will) in three separate civil defamation trials and ordered the daily to pay a total of 115 million Belarusian rubles (US$53,500) in damages, according to local and international reports.

Narodnaya Volya staff told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the damages may bankrupt the Minsk newspaper, one of the few non-governmental dailies in Belarus.
July 5, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

JUNE 28, 2005
Posted: July 1, 2005


Magomedzagid Varisov, Novoye Delo

KILLED—CONFIRMED

Machine-gun toting assailants opened fire on Varisov's sedan at around 9 p.m. as he was returning home with his wife and driver. Varisov sustained multiple bullet wounds and died at the scene. His wife was not injured; the driver was hospitalized with injuries, according to local press reports.
June 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

JUNE 28, 2005
Posted: July 7, 2005

Nikolai Kochurov, Severodvinsky Rabochy

ATTACKED

Kochurov, editor-in-chief of Severodvinsk's independent newspaper, Severodvinsky Rabochy, was beaten by two unidentified assailants and hospitalized with head and arm injuries. Assailants waiting in the entry to Kochurov's apartment building struck him with a heavy object as the journalist left for work that morning, according to several local news reports. Police in Severodvinsk, a city in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia, opened a criminal case but did not immediately identify suspects.
June 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Russian reports say Maksimov murdered

New York, June 28, 2005--Police in the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg consider three senior police investigators to be suspects in the June 2004 disappearance of local reporter Maksim Maksimov, according to local press reports. Police now believe the journalist was murdered for his work, those reports said.

Maksimov, 41, an investigative reporter for the St. Petersburg weekly magazine Gorod (City), was last seen on June 29, 2004, when he went to meet with a source in the city's downtown district, the business daily Kommersant said. A month later, police located the journalist's car parked near a local hotel.

June 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Russian court imposes prison term in defamation case

New York, June 24, 2005—An arbitration court in the southern Russian city of Saratov convicted Eduard Abrosimov, a journalist and adviser to former regional governor Dmitry Ayatskov, of criminal defamation on Wednesday and sentenced him to seven months in a prison colony for defaming public officials in two articles published last year in national and local newspapers, according to local press reports.

June 24, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Letters   |   Serbia

CPJ gravely concerned about threat against editor

Dear Prime Minister Kostunica: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply dismayed by the Serbian Interior Ministry's failure to promptly respond to a credible death threat made against Grujica Spasovic, editor-in-chief of the Belgrade-based independent daily Danas (Today). An anonymous telephone threat was made to the newspaper on June 11 after Danas reported that your government has identified the town where indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic is hiding. We call on you to ensure that the threat is thoroughly investigated and that appropriate protection is provided to Spasovic.

June 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Opposition photojournalist dies six months after dispute

New York, June 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the death on Sunday of Alim Kazimli, photo correspondent for the Baku-based opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat (New Equality). Despite a lengthy hospital stay and home medical treatment for a December 2004 stroke that left him partially paralyzed, the 51-year-old Kazimli died several days after falling into a coma. Family and colleagues said Kazimli's stroke was brought on by a violent argument involving the journalist and officials at a Baku police station, according to local and international press reports.
June 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Opposition photojournalist dies

New York, June 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the death on Sunday of Alim Kazimli, photo correspondent for the Baku-based opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat (New Equality). Despite a lengthy hospital stay and home medical treatment for a December 2004 stroke that left him partially paralyzed, the 51-year-old Kazimli died several days after falling into a coma. Family and colleagues said Kazimli's stroke was brought on by a violent argument involving the journalist and officials at a Baku police station, according to local and international press reports.
June 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Correspondent detained, passport seized

New York, June 20, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the continued harassment of Tulkin Karayev, a correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). Police in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi stopped Karayev last Thursday as he was trying to travel to the capital, Tashkent, to seek medical treatment, Karayev told CPJ in a telephone interview today. The detention came just two days after Karayev was released from prison after serving 10 days on a specious charge of "hooliganism."
June 20, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

JUNE 16, 2005
Posted: June 21, 2005

Tulkin Karayev, Institute for War and Peace Reporting

HARASSED

Police in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi stopped Karayev as he was trying to travel to the capital, Tashkent, to seek medical treatment, Karayev told CPJ in a telephone interview. The detention came just two days after Karayev was released from prison after serving 10 days on a specious charge of "hooliganism."
June 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Russian prosecutors identify alleged mastermind in Klebnikov murder


New York, June 16, 2005—
The Russian Prosecutor-General's office said today that a Chechen separatist leader ordered the July 2004 slaying of Paul Klebnikov, editor of Forbes Russia, according to local and international press reports.

Vasily Lushchenko, spokesman for the prosecutor-general's office, identified the suspected mastermind as Khozh Akhmed Nukhayev, the subject of Klebnikov's 2003 Russian-language book, Conversation with a Barbarian: Interviews with a Chechen Field Commander on Banditry and Islam. Nukhayev, a former deputy prime minister in the Chechen separatist government, is not in custody and is being sought by law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor-general said.

June 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Correspondent released after serving ‘hooliganism' sentence

New York, June 15, 2005—Police in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi yesterday released Tulkin Karayev, a correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), after he served a 10-day detention on charges of hooliganism, IWPR Central Asia Editor Filip Noubel told CPJ.

Police arrested Karayev on June 4 after an unidentified woman attacked him on the street in downtown Karshi. When Karayev went to the local police station to report the incident, he discovered that his female attacker had already declared herself the victim of the attack. A local court sentenced the journalist to 10 days in prison the same day. He had no access to a lawyer during his trial, and was prevented from having contact with his relatives during his 10-day detention, IWPR said.
June 15, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Serbia

SERBIA and MONTENEGRO

JUNE 11, 2005
Posted: June 30, 2005

Grujica Spasovic, Danas
Danas

THREATENED

An anonymous telephone threat was made to the Belgrade-based independent daily after Danas reported that the Serbian government had identified the town where indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic was hiding.
June 11, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Journalist arrested in southern Uzbekistan

New York, June 7, 2005—Authorities in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi have detained, arrested, and sentenced Tulkin Karayev, a correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), on charges of hooliganism.

On Saturday, June 4, an unknown woman attacked Karayev and human rights activist Gaybulla Djalilov, who was accompanying him, on the street in downtown Karshi, according to local press reports. When Karayev went to the local police station in Karshi to report the incident, he discovered that his female attacker had already declared herself the victim of the attack.
June 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

JUNE 6, 2005
Posted: June 21, 2005

Nikolai Goshko, Radio Vesna and Odintsovskaya Nedelya

LEGAL ACTION, IMPRISONED

An arbitration court in the central Russian city of Smolensk convicted independent journalist Nikolai Goshko on charges of criminal defamation and sentenced him to five years in a prison colony for defaming three Smolensk officials in a July 2000 broadcast on the independent station, Radio Vesna.
June 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Serbia

Kosovo journalist shot

New York, June 6, 2005— Unidentified assailants shot journalist Bardhyl Ajeti from a passing car in Kosovo last Friday, according to international press reports

Ajeti, a reporter for the Albanian-language daily Bota Sot (World Today), is now in a coma. Ajeti, 28, was driving from Kosovo's capital of Pristina to the eastern Kosovo town of Gnjilane when at least one attacker shot at him from another car, according to the Kosova Journalists Association, a local union.

June 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

JUNE 4, 2005
Posted: June 21, 2005

Tulkin Karayev, Institute for War and Peace Reporting

LEGAL ACTION, IMPRISONED

Authorities in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi detained, arrested, and sentenced Tulkin Karayev, a correspondent for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), on charges of hooliganism.
June 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Serbia

SERBIA and MONTENEGRO

JUNE 3, 2005
Posted: August 22, 2005

Bardhyl Ajeti, Bota Sot

KILLED—CONFIRMED

Ajeti, 28, a reporter for the Albanian-language daily Bota Sot (World Today), died in an Italian hospital on June 25, three weeks after being shot in Kosovo, Agence France-Presse reported.
June 3, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Journalist detained for 40 days without due process

Editor's note: The original text of this alert has been corrected to accurately characterize the newspaper Minbar i Halq.

New York, June 2, 2005—
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the 40-day detention of Jumaboy Tolibov, an independent journalist from northern Tajikistan.

This week, deputy regional prosecutor Izatullo Mukhammadiyev confirmed the journalist's detention on criminal charges of hooliganism and opposition to a state representative. Mukammadivev refused to provide details about the charges, citing an ongoing investigation, according to the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), a Dushanbe-based press freedom group.
June 3, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Polish TV crew detained in Ingushetia

New York, June 1, 2005— Police and Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia detained three journalists from the Polish state television station TVP, according to The Associated Press.

Mariusz Pilis, Marcin Mamon, and Tomasz Glowacki were detained on Sunday around 8:30 p.m., at their hotel in Nazran, Ingushetia’s biggest city. Several police officers took them to a local police station and held them for 14 hours, where over a dozen police officers and at least one FSB agent interrogated them in separate rooms, Pilis told CPJ in a telephone interview today.

June 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

MAY 29, 2005
Posted: June 3, 2005

Mariusz Pilis, TVP
Marcin Mamon, TVP
Tomasz Glowacki, TVP

HARASSED
Police and Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia detained three journalists from the Polish state television station TVP, according to The Associated Press.
May 29, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Italy

Police search Corriere della Sera newsroom

New York, May 27, 2005—Six police officers searched the headquarters of Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading national daily based in Milan.

The officers spent at least two hours in the newsroom Wednesday evening, looking for documents that the daily had used as part of its earlier report on the use of Italian pistols by Iraq militants in Iraq, Raffaele Fiengo, cultural editor at Corriere della Sera told CPJ in a telephone interview today.
May 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Italy

ITALY

MAY 25, 2005
Posted: May 31, 2005

Staff, Corriere della Sera

ATTACKED

Six police officers searched the headquarters of Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading national daily based in Milan.

The officers spent at least two hours in the newsroom, looking for documents that the daily had used as part of its earlier report on the use of Italian pistols by Iraq militants in Iraq, Raffaele Fiengo, cultural editor at Corriere della Sera told CPJ in a telephone interview.
May 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Media executive severely beaten

New York, May 25, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday’s assault on Dmitry Suryaninov, general director of the Media-Samara holding company, which owns several news outlets in the Samara region of southern Russia. At least two assailants battered Suryaninov with baseball bats near his home in Samara, the regional capital, according to local and international press reports.

Suryaninov remained hospitalized today with a concussion, head laceration, and multiple bruises, according to press reports. His condition was stable, but he was expected to stay in the hospital for at least a week. No money was stolen, local news reports said, although Suryaninov was carrying a considerable sum. Assailants struck Suryaninov numerous times, mainly on the head, before fleeing. The victim was taken to the neurosurgical ward of Samara’s main hospital, local press reports said.

May 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ disturbed by new FSB harassment of journalist Yuri Bagrov

New York, May 23, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by the continued harassment of Yuri Bagrov, a North Caucasus correspondent for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). A Federal Security Service (FSB) agent prevented Bagrov from covering an opposition rally on Friday, then followed him back to his office and threatened him, the correspondent told CPJ in a telephone interview today.

May 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

MAY 21, 2005
Posted: July 15, 2005

Pavel Makeev, Puls

KILLED—UNCONFIRMED

The body of the 21-year-old cameraman was found alongside a road on the outskirts of the Rostov Region town shortly after he arrived to film illegal drag-race competitions. Authorities classified the death as a traffic accident, but colleagues believed he was killed purposely to thwart his report, according to local press reports and CPJ interviews. CPJ is investigating the death.
May 21, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Kazakhstan

KAZAKHSTAN

MAY 4, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye

CENSORED

The Kazakh Culture, Information, and Sports Ministry ordered the closing of the leading opposition weekly Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye (Republic Business Review).
May 17, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Amid unrest, Uzbek authorities continue obstructing journalists

New York, May 16, 2005—Uzbek authorities maintained a virtual blockade today on news coverage of civil unrest in the northeastern city of Andijan, expelling journalists from the town and obstructing foreign television news broadcasts. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the moves and called on President Islam Karimov to end the obstruction and harassment of reporters covering the crisis.
May 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

MAY 14, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Dmitry Yasminov, Ren TV
Vikrot Muzalevsky, Ren TV

HARASSED

Uzbek authorities detained and expelled journalists covering civil unrest in the northeastern city of Andijan.
May 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

MAY 13, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Shamil Baygin, Reuters
Galima Bukharbayeva, Institute for War and Peace Reporting

HARASSED

Uzbek authorities detained and expelled journalists covering civil unrest in the northeastern city of Andijan.
May 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Officials block news outlets amid massive protests

New York, May 13, 2005—Uzbek authorities shuttered several foreign and domestic media outlets today during massive anti-government protests in the northeastern city of Andijan, leaving citizens without access to independent news about the unrest, according to local and international press reports.

Authorities blocked access to the foreign television channels CNN, BBC, and Moscow-based NTV at noon after 4,000 protesters stormed a prison in Andijan, freed up to 2,000 inmates, and seized the city administration building earlier in the day, according to press reports.
May 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Latvian TV crew detained, harassed

New York, May 12, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention and harassment this week of a Latvian television crew by local police and federal agents in Pytalovo, a district on the Latvia-Russia border.

Reporter Ivo Kirsblats, cameraman Maris Jurgensons, and driver Eriks Pakalns of the Riga-based Latvian public television LTV were detained for three hours on the morning of May 9 at the Pytalovo police station. Police forced them to destroy video footage and to leave the country by 6 p.m. that day, Kirsblats told CPJ in a telephone interview yesterday.
May 12, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Information Ministry orders closure of opposition weekly

New York, May 10, 2005 – CPJ condemns the closure of the leading opposition weekly Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye (Republic Business Review) by The Kazakh Culture, Information, and Sports Ministry.

Last Thursday in Almaty, Kazakhstan's financial capital, Galina Dyrdina, the weekly's deputy editor told a press conference that editorial staff will not publish the paper's next issue but will appeal the May 4 closure order in court. The order contained no explanation of the reasons behind the closure, the weekly's staff said.
May 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

MAY 9, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Ivo Kirsblats, LTV
Maris Jurgensons, LTV

LEGAL ACTION, CENSORED

The Latvian television crew members were detained by local police and federal agents in Pytalovo, a district on the Latvia-Russia border.
May 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Investigators name chief suspect in murder of opposition editor

New York, May 4, 2005—Investigators in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, said late yesterday that a 46-year-old Georgian citizen is the chief suspect in the March 2 murder of Elmar Huseynov, founder and editor of the opposition news magazine Monitor.

The National Security Ministry (MNB), which is conducting the inquiry into Huseynov's killing, identified the suspect as Tair Hubanov, according to local and international news reports. Using a different name, the man came to Huseynov's apartment several times in the week before the murder and inquired when the editor would be home, Rushana Huseynova, the victim's wife, told the Committee to Protect Journalists in a telephone interview today.
May 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Russian journalists released from jail after being arrested at rally

New York, May 2, 2005—A Belarusian court granted early release Saturday to two Russian journalists arrested last week while covering an opposition demonstration in the capital, Minsk, that marked the anniversary of the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The journalists were freed along with 12 Russians who participated in the rally, according to local and international press reports.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said jailing the reporters was unjust because they were simply doing their jobs.
May 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Belarus

BELARUS

APRIL 27, 2005
Posted: May 3, 2005

Aleksey Ametyov, Newsweek
Mikhail Romanov, Moskovsky Komsomolets

LEGAL ACTION, IMPRISONED

A court in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, handed jail sentences to two Russian journalists arrested while covering an opposition rally, according to local and international press reports.
April 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Tags:

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

APRIL 27, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Marina Kozlova, United Press International
LEGAL ACTION

The Foreign Ministry denied press accreditation to Marina Kozlova, Tashkent correspondent for United Press International (UPI).
April 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Belarus

Two Russian journalists jailed after opposition rally

New York, April 27, 2005—A court in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, handed brief jail sentences today to two Russian journalists arrested while covering an opposition rally, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was alarmed by the action and called for the release of the two reporters.

The Leninsky Court sentenced Aleksey Ametyov, a correspondent for the Russian edition of Newsweek magazine, to a 10-day term and Mikhail Romanov, a reporter for the Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, to an eight-day term. The two were accused of participating in a rally not sanctioned by the Minsk government, according to press reports.

April 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Attacker: ‘I will teach you how to write'

New York, April 26, 2005—Independent Uzbek journalist Ulugbek Haydarov remained hospitalized today after a severe weekend beating at the doorstep of his home by an assailant who shouted, "I will teach you how to write," according to local and international press reports.

Haydarov suffered a broken collarbone and multiple bruises in the assault reported at 10 p.m. Saturday in the city of Jizzakh, the regional capital of Jizzakh Province, about 100 miles southwest of Tashkent, press reports said. Police are investigating, the Jizzakh Interior Ministry said.
April 26, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Exiled editor of Kazakh opposition weekly detained for two days

New York, April 25, 2005—Police in the Russian city of Volokolamsk detained Irina Petrushova, editor of the Kazakh opposition weekly Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye, for two days at the request of Kazakh authorities, she told the Committee to Protect Journalists shortly after her release today.

Petrushova, a 2002 winner of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, said Kazakh authorities had sought to extradite her on alleged tax violations, but the prosecutor- general's office in Moscow determined she was being held improperly. Petrushova, taken into custody Saturday afternoon, was released at 3 p.m. today after the prosecutor ruled that the Kazakh warrant had expired, she said in a telephone interview.
April 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

APRIL 23, 2005
Posted: May 3, 2005

Irina Petrushova, Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye

HARASSED, IMPRISONED

Police in the Russian city of Volokolamsk detained Petrushova, editor of the Kazakh opposition weekly Respublika Delovoye Obozreniye, for two days at the request of Kazakh authorities, the journalist told CPJ.
April 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

APRIL 23, 2005
Posted: May 3, 2005

Ulugbek Haydarov, freelance

ATTACKED

Haydarov was hospitalized after a severe beating at the doorstep of his home by an assailant who shouted, "I will teach you how to write," according to local and international press reports.
April 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Journalist held on charges of "anti-constitutional activity"


New York, April 18, 2005—
An Uzbek reporter for the state-run weekly newspaper Hurriyat (Liberty) has been criminally charged with "undermining the constitutional order" and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to local and international press reports.

Sobirdjon Yakubov, 22, a Muslim, was detained in the capital, Tashkent, on April 11 on suspicions of religious extremism. He was charged three days later, Alisher Sharafutdinov, deputy minister of the interior, announced at a press conference in the capital. The formal charge is based on Yakubov's alleged religious activities. The government did not describe those purported actions in detail, but local reports cited Yakubov's alleged participation in an illegal organization.
April 18, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Tags:

Case   |   Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

APRIL 11, 2005
Posted: May 3, 2005

Sobirdjon Yakubov, Hurriyat

LEGAL ACTION, IMPRISONED

Yakubov, a reporter for the state-run weekly newspaper Hurriyat (Liberty), was criminally charged with "undermining the constitutional order" and faced up to 20 years in prison, according to local and international press reports.
April 11, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Prosecutors reopen case of abducted journalist

New York, April 8, 2005—Prosecutors in capital of Minsk, have reopened the inquiry into the July 2000 abduction of Dmitry Zavadsky, a 29-year-old cameraman for the Russian public network ORT, according to the Minsk-based human rights group Charter 97.

Olga Zavadskaya, whose son is presumed dead after disappearing nearly five years ago, received a letter from the prosecutor-general's office yesterday, acknowledging the need to "carry out additional investigations," local reports said. Zavadskaya had filed a formal petition with prosecutors in August 2004 in an effort to reopen the investigation, which had been suspended in March of that year.

April 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uzbekistan

Authorities launch criminal inquiry of Internews

New York, April 6, 2005—The prosecutor-general's office in Uzbekistan said yesterday it was investigating the Tashkent bureau of the media training and advocacy group Internews Network on criminal charges of operating without a license, according to international reports.

Witnesses have been questioned, "but at this stage nobody has been arrested," the prosecutor's spokeswoman, Svetlana Artikova told IRIN, a United Nations-affiliated news agency. Artikova did not provide details of the possible violations, nor did she specify potential penalties.
April 6, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Ukrainian prosecutor claims confessions in Gongadze case

New York, April 5, 2005—Ukraine's prosecutor-general said yesterday that two former police officers arrested in March as suspects in the 2000 murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze have confessed to the killing, according to local and international press reports.

Vyacheslav Astapov, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said the officers were cooperating with investigators in providing details about the crime, The Associated Press reported. The reported confessions are the latest in a series of developments in the high-profile case, which had marred the integrity of the Ukrainian government and justice system.
April 5, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Supreme Court rejects editor's appeal

New York, March 31, 2005—Azerbaijan's Supreme Court has upheld the October 2004 conviction of Rauf Arifoglu, editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat, on charges of organizing anti-government riots, according to local and international press reports. The criminal conviction was widely considered to have been politically motivated.

"The many irregularities in Rauf Arifoglu's 2004 trial, which have been well-documented, should have raised questions for the Supreme Court," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "By failing to address these issues, the court appears indifferent to the interests of fair and impartial justice."
March 31, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Cyprus

European Court faults investigation in case of murdered journalist

New York, March 31, 2005—The European Court for Human Rights ruled today that Turkish authorities did not conduct an effective investigation into the July 1996 murder of journalist Kutlu Adali in Cyprus and ordered the government to pay 20,000 euros (US $26,000) in damages to his wife.

Ilkay Adali sought damages in 1997 from the Turkish government, which maintains effective control over the renegade Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). She claimed that Turkish or TRNC authorities ordered the killing, but the court said there was not enough evidence to conclude that security agents were involved in the murder.
March 31, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Kyrgyzstan

President flees amid unrest, fraud, censorship

New York, March 25, 2005—At least one Kyrgyz journalist was hospitalized with injuries and another arrested as police tried to break up the escalating unrest that prompted President Askar Akayev to flee the country this week. The demonstrations, which toppled yet another authoritarian regime in Central Asia, came amid widespread anger over fraud-marred parliamentary elections—and weeks of government censorship, harassment, and obstruction of the press.
March 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Foreign Ministry accuses Swedish media of fomenting violence

New York, March 24, 2005—The Russian Foreign Ministry has strongly criticized Swedish authorities and media for independent news reporting on the conflict in Chechnya, claiming the information was fomenting violence, according to local and international press reports.

The Russian embassy in Stockholm criticized the independent Swedish news agency TT on Wednesday for publishing an interview with Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev on March 21. It claimed the agency was partly responsible for a Russian diplomat's car being set ablaze the next day.
March 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Court reduces financial penalty against independent daily

New York, March 24, 2005—An appeals court yesterday reduced the massive damages levied against the independent Moscow daily Kommersant in what a newspaper lawyer called a "tactical victory" in its ongoing legal battle over its reporting on last summer's banking crisis.

Moscow's Federal Arbitration Court upheld the finding of liability but reduced the damages to 40.5 million rubles (US$1.46 million)—about one-eighth the original award, according to local and international press reports.
March 24, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN

MARCH 23, 2005
Posted: March 28, 2005

Azamat Kalman, Journalists Trade Union
ATTACKED

Kalman, head of the country's independent Journalists Trade Union, suffered two broken legs while covering the escalating unrest that prompted President Askar Akayev to flee the country.
March 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

After outcry, president pardons imprisoned opposition editor

New York, March 21, 2005—Facing international pressure, President Ilham Aliyev pardoned the imprisoned editor of an opposition newspaper yesterday as part of a decree ordering the release of dozens of political prisoners, according to local and international press reports.

Rauf Arifoglu, editor-in-chief of Yeni Musavat, had been jailed for 17 months after his arrest during the unrest that followed Aliyev's disputed 2003 election. Aliyev has come under sustained criticism from human rights and press freedom groups, which charged that the government has used widespread imprisonment to silence its critics.
March 21, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkmenistan

Russian correspondent forced to leave Ashgabat

New York, March 18, 2005—One of the few foreign journalists in Turkmenistan, the Ashgabat correspondent for the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, has been forced to leave the country under circumstances that remain unclear.

Viktor Panov was seen in handcuffs at Ashgabat's airport accompanied by several men in civilian cloths who led him to a Moscow-bound flight on March 12, The Associated Press reported. Panov, who holds Russian and Turkmen citizenship, has been RIA Novosti's Ashgabat correspondent since the mid-1990s.
March 18, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Authorities intensify persecution of independent newspaper

New York, March 16, 2005—Russian authorities in Chechnya and the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod are escalating their campaign of harassment and intimidation against Pravo-Zashchita (Rights Defense), a monthly newspaper that covers human rights abuses in Chechnya, according to local press reports.

The newspaper is published by the nongovernmental organization Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) and is distributed in the North Caucasus and several other Russian cities.
March 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Supreme Court upholds acquittal in Kholodov murder case

New York, March 16, 2005—In a major setback in the decade-long quest to bring the killers of slain Russian journalist Dimitry Kholodov to justice, the Military Collegium of Russia's Supreme Court on Monday upheld a June 2004 acquittal of six military officers accused of murdering Kholodov.

Kholodov, a reporter for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, was killed in October 1994 after criticizing then Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Two separate trials failed to lead to convictions for the suspects.
March 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   France, Iraq

Cameraman killed

New York, March 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating today's murder of an Iraqi cameraman in Mosul who was working for a Kurdish television station.

According to several international press reports, gunmen shot and killed Hussam Hilal Sarsam, listed in some reports Hussam Habib. The reports stated that the journalist was kidnapped before his murder, but there is conflicting information about when he was kidnapped.
March 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   China, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Vietnam, Yugoslavia

Attacks on the Press in 2004: Preface by Tom Brokaw

Remember 1989? The collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of democracy and democratic institutions in the old Communist bloc, including Mother Russia, inspired a new generation of journalists in places where a free press had been a state crime. Other journalists in other places, such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and China, were showing a new boldness and courage that gave rise to the hope that we were entering a golden age of press freedom.

March 14, 2005 11:59 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Burma, Burundi, China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lithuania, Philippines, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam

Attacks on the Press in 2004: Introduction

by Ann Cooper

With its myriad dangers and devastating death toll, Iraq remained the worst place to practice journalism throughout 2004, and one of the most dangerous media assignments in recent history. Twenty-three journalists and 16 media support workers were killed on the job in Iraq during the year. An insurgent kidnapping campaign also posed severe threats--at least 22 journalists were abducted, and one of them was executed by his captors.

Attacks on the Press   |   Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2004: Africa Analysis

Overview
by Julia Crawford

With the rule of law weak in many African countries, journalists regularly battle threats and harassment, not only from governments but also from rogue elements, such as militias. Repressive legislation is used in many countries to silence journalists who write about sensitive topics such as corruption, mismanagement, and human rights abuses. If fewer journalists were killed or imprisoned in Africa than in some other regions in 2004--two were killed and 19 were behind bars for their work at year's end--the problems they face are insidious and ongoing.

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Europe and Central Asia Analysis

Overview
by Alex Lupis


Authoriatarian rulers strengthened their hold on power in many former Soviet republics in 2004. Their secretive, centralized governments aggressively suppressed all forms of independent activity, from journalism and human rights monitoring to religious activism and political opposition.

Attacks on the Press   |   Algeria, Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2004: Middle East and North Africa Analysis

Overview
By Joel Campagna

The conflict in Iraq led to a harrowing number of press attacks in 2004, with local journalists and media support workers primarily in the line of fire. Twenty-three journalists and 16 support staff—drivers, interpreters, fixers, and guards—were killed while on the job in Iraq in 2004. In all, 36 journalists and 18 support workers died from the beginning of hostilities in March 2003 to the end of 2004, making the conflict in Iraq one of the most dangerous for journalists in recent history. Only conflicts in Algeria, Colombia, the Balkans, and the Philippines have resulted in similarly high numbers of journalists killed since CPJ was founded in 1981.
March 14, 2005 11:53 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

The massive protests that erupted in October 2003 over the election of President Ilham Aliyev continued to have repercussions in 2004. Following the lead of his father, Heydar, who died in December 2003, Aliyev intensified pressure on independent and opposition media and used the country's harsh criminal and civil codes to stifle criticism.
March 14, 2005 11:45 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press 2004: Belarus

Belarus

President Aleksandr Lukashenko strangled the country's independent and opposition media in the months before deeply flawed October elections that returned his supporters to Parliament. The obedient state media flooded the capital, Minsk, and the countryside with pro-Lukashenko propaganda, vilifying opposition leaders and urging voters to support the president or face Western domination and political instability. The October vote also ratified a constitutional amendment enabling the president to seek a third term.
March 14, 2005 11:43 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Bosnia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Journalists in both of the autonomous regions that comprise Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Muslim Federation, continue to work in a complex environment marred by widespread corruption and organized crime, weak government institutions, economic underdevelopment, and poor access to government information. Journalists commonly practice self-censorship to avoid pressure or harassment from nationalist politicians, government officials, and businessmen who use advertising revenue, threats, and occasionally violent attacks to ensure positive coverage.
March 14, 2005 11:42 AM ET

  |   France, Switzerland

Attacks on the Press 2004: Central Africa Republic

Central Africa Republic

President François Bozizé's government imprisoned two prominent publication directors and harassed many other journalists as initial optimism that he would enact reforms gave way to the reality of civil strife and a bleak economy. Bozizé took power in this mineral-rich but chronically unstable nation after toppling former President Ange-Félix Patassé in a March 2003 coup. As the country prepared for legislative and presidential elections in early 2005, the press faced increasing intolerance from the government.
March 14, 2005 11:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Croatia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Croatia

Croatia

After returning to power in 2003, the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), tried to reassure voters and the international community that it had moved beyond the repressive right-wing policies that marked its ironfisted rule during the 1990s. Senior HDZ officials reasserted influence over state media but kept a looser hold on independent journalists as Croatia bids to join the European Union in 2007.
March 14, 2005 11:37 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Georgia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Georgia

Georgia

Many in the news media had high hopes that this South Caucasus nation would pursue a path of greater press freedom due to the instrumental role that journalists played in the "Rose Revolution," which swept President Eduard Shevardnadze and his corruption-riddled Cabinet out of office in November 2003. The independent television station Rustavi-2 was particularly important, broadcasting opposition protests and giving airtime to government critics.
March 14, 2005 11:32 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   France, South Africa

Attacks on the Press 2004: Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Although legislation passed at the end of 2004 eliminated criminal penalties for most press offenses, journalists in Ivory Coast face much more immediate and dangerous threats, including harassment and violence, amid the political tension and uncertainty that have engulfed the country since civil war began in 2002. Serious attacks on the press have occurred in both the government-controlled south and the rebel-held north.
March 14, 2005 11:27 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Moldova

Attacks on the Press 2004: Moldova

Moldova

Thirteen years after declaring independence from the Soviet Union, Moldova is plagued by a corrupt communist government, a stagnant economy, and an ongoing civil conflict with the breakaway Trans-Dniester Region. Corruption is widespread in a society where criminal groups have fused with the government and business. Independent and opposition media struggle to survive amid a general state of lawlessness and poverty that has forced many to align themselves with political parties to survive. The government continues to use politicized agencies to control the press.
March 14, 2005 11:22 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Romania

Attacks on the Press 2004: Romania

Romania

In its annual assessment of Romania's democratic reforms, the European Commission criticized the government's press freedom record. Authorities' use of lucrative advertising contracts and forgiveness of debts to the state to influence television news coverage, as well as provincial politicians' acquisition of media outlets to promote their political and business interests, continued to erode media freedom, the report noted. The negative assessment could undermine Romania's efforts to secure EU and NATO membership in 2007.
March 14, 2005 11:14 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Russia

Russia

A midyear purge of independent voices on state television and an alarming suppression of news coverage during the Beslan hostage crisis marked a year in which Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly exerted Soviet-style control over the media. Using intelligence agents and an array of politicized state agencies, Putin pushed for an obedient and patriotic press in keeping with his ever tightening grip on Russia's deteriorating democracy.

Attacks on the Press   |   Serbia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia and Montenegro

Political paralysis consumed Serbia for much of 2004. Conservative reformists and ultranationalists argued over the bloody legacy of former President Slobodan Milosevic and refused to extradite Serbs indicted for war crimes to The Hague–based U.N. -tribunal. Amid a chaotic and polarized atmosphere, journalists were vulnerable to -intimidation from politicians, government agencies, businessmen, accused war criminals, and organized crime.
March 14, 2005 11:11 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Tajikistan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Tajikistan

Tajikistan

President Imomali Rakhmonov consolidated his authoritarian rule in 2004, arresting political opponents and cracking down on opposition newspapers. Authorities employed bureaucratic and legal harassment in a broad campaign to silence criticism of the president and his allies ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for February 2005.
March 14, 2005 11:09 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press 2004: Turkey

Turkey

The European Union's long-awaited decision in December to begin formal talks to admit Turkey would have been impossible without legislative reforms made in recent years, including several aimed at expanding freedom of expression.

A new Penal Code set to take effect in 2005 codifies a number of recent press reforms. Notably, it limits the definition of "inciting hatred" to cases in which the exercise of free expression poses a "clear and present danger." Prison penalties for "insulting" state institutions were reduced, and the law now requires proof of intent for conviction. A new press law adopted in June abolishes authorities' power to suspend publications, lifts prison penalties for certain press offenses, and strengthens protection for confidential sources.
March 14, 2005 11:05 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Turkmenistan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan

Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's self-proclaimed president for life, continued on the path of international isolation and ironfisted dictatorial rule. State control over the country's abundant natural gas reserves provided Niyazov with the financial independence to ignore international opinion, repress dissident voices, and intensify his cult of personality. In 2004, the government particularly targeted the U.S. government–funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)—one of the country's few independent-minded sources of domestic news—by harassing and detaining its reporters.
March 14, 2005 11:04 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press 2004: Ukraine

Ukraine

Throughout 2004, Ukraine's authoritarian President Leonid Kuchma carefully groomed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to succeed him when his second term expired at the end of the year. Relying on pro-government television stations, an obedient Central Elections Commission (CEC), and support from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kuchma attempted to orchestrate a transfer of power that would have allowed him to remain politically active and avoid accountability for abuses in office.
March 14, 2005 11:02 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan's stagnant economy and Soviet-style dictatorship continued to fuel popular discontent in 2004, and President Islam Karimov brutally suppressed dissenters to -maintain his control of the country. Karimov stonewalled U.S. and Western pressure for reforms throughout the year, cultivating his image as an American ally in the "war on -terror" and calculating that the Bush administration was more focused on retaining access to a local military air base than on human rights abuses.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Ukrainian prosecutors report progress in the Gongadze case


New York, March 11, 2005—The questioning of Ukraine's former president and negotiations to obtain a potentially key tape recording capped a week of developments in the Ukrainian government's investigation into the September 2000 abduction and murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze. The once-dormant investigation, given life when President Viktor Yushchenko took office this year, also netted formal charges against two Interior Ministry officers this week, according to local and international press reports.
March 11, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Supreme Court examines complaints in Kholodov murder case

New York, March 10, 2005—The Military Collegium of Russia's Supreme Court today opened hearings to examine complaints filed by the Prosecutor General's Office and the parents of Dmitry Kholodov, a slain reporter for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, according to local press reports.

Kholodov was murdered in October 1994 after criticizing then Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Two separate trials failed to lead to convictions for a group of suspects, and the statute of limitation in the case expired in October 2004.
March 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Letters   |   Russia

CPJ seeks to halt intimidation in Chechnya

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned about an ongoing campaign by the Federal Security Service (FSB) and prosecutors to intimidate and obstruct the work of independent journalists reporting on the ongoing war in and around the southern republic of Chechnya.

March 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Editor of opposition weekly gunned down

New York, March 2, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Elmar Huseynov, the founder and editor of the opposition weekly news magazine Monitor, who was gunned down this evening in his apartment building in the capital, Baku.

Huseynov was shot several times while walking up the stairwell of his building on his way home from work, according to local press reports. The shooting occurred at approximately 9:00 p.m., and the editor died at the scene, the Baku-based independent news agency Turan reported.
March 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN

MARCH 2005

Kyrgyz National Television & Radio
CENSORED

Senior government officials prevented journalists at the state-run Kyrgyz National Television & Radio Corporation (KTR) from reporting on rallies protesting fraud-marred parliamentary elections, according to local and international press reports.
March 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Suspects detained; key witness injured in grenade attack


New York, March 1, 2005—Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said today that Kyiv investigators had detained and were questioning suspects in the 2000 murder of investigative reporter Georgy Gongadze, whose decapitation had shocked Ukraine and whose unsolved case had tainted the highest reaches of government. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed the president's announcement and urged investigators to continue pursuing all those who plotted and carried out the slaying.
March 1, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Kyrgyzstan

Radio station suspended days before parliamentary elections

New York, February 25, 2005—A state broadcast regulator last night shuttered the popular Kyrgyz Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, known locally as Radio Azattyk, just three days ahead of the country's parliamentary elections, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on the government to overturn the decision immediately and allow the station to resume broadcasting.
February 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN

FEBRUARY 24, 2005
Posted: March 7, 2005

Radio Azattyk (Kyrgyz Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
CENSORED
A state broadcast regulator shuttered the popular Kyrgyz Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, known locally as Radio Azattyk, just three days ahead of the country's parliamentary elections, according to local and international press reports.
February 24, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Turkmenistan

TURKMENISTAN

FEBRUARY 24, 2005
Posted: March 22, 2005

Viktor Panov, RIA Novosti
IMPRISONED, EXPELLED

Panov, Ashgabat correspondent for the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, was forced to leave Turkmenistan after being detained for more than two weeks.
February 24, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Russian Prosecutor-General charges one in the murder

New York, February 23, 2005—Belarusian authorities yesterday extradited to Russia two ethnic Chechens who are suspects in the July slaying of Paul Klebnikov, founding editor of Forbes Russia magazine, according to local and international press reports.

The Russian General-Prosecutor's Office today charged one of the men, Muslim Ibragimov, with complicity in the July 2004 murder of Klebnikov, 41, a prominent investigative journalist and author. Ibragimov, who is also known as Kazbek Dukuzov, is the first person officially charged in the drive-by shooting, which occurred on a Moscow street just outside Klebnikov's office.
February 23, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN

FEBRUARY 22, 2005
Posted: March 7, 2005

The Media Support Center
HARASSED
Authorities cut off electricity on February 22 to the country's only independent printing house. The Media Support Center, funded and operated by the U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House, prints the country's major independent and opposition newspapers.
February 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

Interior Ministry says journalist will not be deported

New York, February 22, 2005—The Interior Ministry in North Ossetia says a journalist recently ordered deported by the Federal Security Service may instead stay in Russia and reapply for citizenship, according to local press reports.

But the apparent shift does not lift any of the restrictions that have prevented Yuri Bagrov—who has covered the North Caucasus for The Associated Press and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty—from reporting for the last six months. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Russian government to take genuine steps to allow Bagrov to report freely.
February 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Journalist's deportation delayed

New York, February 16, 2005—A journalist ordered deported by the Russian security service was allowed to stay in Russia temporarily because officials in the passport office told him they could find no legal basis to expel him.

Yuri Bagrov, who has covered the North Caucasus for The Associated Press and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was summoned to the Interior Ministry's Passport and Visa Service in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz this morning.
February 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ concerned about journalist's pending deportation

New York, February 15, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed that the Russian government is planning to deport Yuri Bagrov, a journalist who has covered the North Caucasus for The Associated Press and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, in retaliation for his independent reporting on the war in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

An official from the Interior Ministry's Passport and Visa Service in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz came to Bagrov's office today and summoned him to the passport office tomorrow morning to be informed of his pending deportation, Bagrov said in a telephone interview with CPJ today.
February 15, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Croatia

Journalists demand inquiry into alleged abuses by security agency

New York, February 10, 2005—Five independent Croatian journalists filed a petition on Monday requesting that the government investigate allegations that the Counter-Intelligence Agency (POA) tried to discredit them after they reported on sensitive war crimes issues, according to local and international press reports.

The journalists called for an inquiry after the February 4 edition of the independent Zagreb weekly magazine Globus published a POA document titled "Information on intelligence-media manipulation," which accused the journalists of working for foreign security services in order to discredit the government and impede integration with the European Union.
February 10, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Authorities issue warning to newspaper over Chechnya interview

New York, February 9, 2005—Federal authorities in Moscow have issued an official warning to the independent Moscow daily Kommersant for publishing a February 7 interview with Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, according to local and international press reports.

The Federal Service for Oversight of Compliance with Media Laws issued the warning Tuesday under the Media Law and the Law Against Extremist Activities, which bans the distribution of information that supports "extremist activities," according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
February 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Case   |   Russia

RUSSIA

FEBRUARY 8, 2005
Posted: February 10, 2005

KommersantHARASSED

Federal authorities in Moscow issued an official warning to the independent Moscow daily Kommersant for publishing a February 7 interview with Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, according to local and international press reports.

February 8, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Georgia

Asesinan a periodista televisivo

Bogotá, 5 de febrero de 2005--El Comité para la Protección de Periodistas (CPJ, por sus siglas en inglés) investiga el asesinato de Oscar Alberto Polanco Herrera, periodista televisivo que fue ultimado a balazos el día de ayer, 4 de febrero, en la ciudad de Cartago, departamento de Valle del Cauca, unos 200 kilómetros al suroeste de la capital, Bogotá.

Las autoridades manifestaron que Polanco Herrera, director del noticiero local «CNC Noticias» transmitido por Cable Unión de Occidente, recibió tres disparos por parte de dos pistoleros que se desplazaban en motocicletas cuando se hallaba en el estacionamiento de su oficina a la una de la tarde. El coronel de la Policía Jairo Salcedo indicó que las autoridades no tienen información sobre los pistoleros o los posibles móviles del crimen.
February 5, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Croatia

CROATIA

FEBRUARY 4, 2005
Posted: March 14, 2005

Gordan Malic, GlobusIvica Djikic, Feral Tribune
Marijo Kavain, Jutarnji Listi
Ivanka Toma, Jutarnji Listi
Zeljko Peratovic, Vjesnik

February 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Journalist abducted, threatened by military officers

New York, February 3, 2005—Akrep Hasanov, an Azerbaijani journalist with the independent weekly Monitor in the capital, Baku, was abducted by military officers and held in detention for five hours, Hasanov told CPJ. The journalist says he was detained in retaliation for writing an article about abuses and mismanagement in an Azerbaijani military unit.

On Tuesday, February 1, Hasanov received a phone call from a man who introduced himself as a teacher who had evidence of abuses in a Baku school. The man offered to meet Hasanov the next day at noon to talk and give him the documents. When Hasanov arrived at the appointment near a Baku subway station, two men in plainclothes grabbed him and took him by foot to the nearby military headquarters in Baku's Old City, Hasanov told CPJ.
February 3, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Case   |   Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN

FEBRUARY 2, 2005
Posted: February 4, 2005

Akrep Hasanov, Monitor

HARASSED, THREATENED

Hasanov, an Azerbaijani journalist with the independent weekly Monitor in the capital, Baku, was abducted by military officers and held in detention for five hours, Hasanov told CPJ. The journalist says he was detained in retaliation for writing an article about abuses and mismanagement in an Azerbaijani military unit.
February 2, 2005 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ disturbed that journalist's appeal denied

New York, January 21, 2005—The Supreme Court of the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia upheld on Wednesday, January 19, the conviction of Yuri Bagrov on criminal charges of using forged documents to obtain Russian citizenship. The court also fined him 15,000 rubles (US$530).

"We are very concerned that the harassment and prosecution of Bagrov comes in retaliation for his independent reporting on the conflict in Chechnya," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "We call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure that local authorities protect Bagrov, allow him to continue working as a journalist, and ensure that the charges against him are not politically motivated."
January 21, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Assets of opposition newspaper frozen

New York, January 7, 2005—The independent Azerbaijani opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat ceased publication indefinitely on December 31, 2004, because a court froze the paperís assets and bank account after ordering it to pay hefty libel damages to several government officials.

The damages, which total nearly 800 million manats (US$160,000), stem from seven different defamation lawsuits launched mainly by government officials against the paper between 2000 and 2003. The court froze the paperís assets on November 15, 2004. Qabil Abbasoglu, Yeni Musavatís acting editor-in-chief, told CPJ it is unclear when or whether the paper will be able to resume publication.
January 7, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Russia

CPJ disturbed by ruling that Russian newspaper must pay millions

New York, January 4, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by a Moscow court’s finding that Kommersant, Russia’s leading independent business daily, must pay millions in damages for a July article that described long lines of customers withdrawing money at a major bank.

An appellate court ruled last week that Kommersant (Businessman) must pay plaintiff Alfa-Bank 300 million rubles (US$10.8 million) in damages for allegedly causing the bank financial problems by publishing the article, according to local press reports. News accounts described the ruling as unprecedented in its severity.
January 4, 2005 12:00 PM ET
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