Europe & Central Asia

2011

Blog   |   Bahrain, Egypt, Internet, Libya, Turkey

Libya's disordered Internet

Craig Labowitz at Arbor has been sifting through the evidence of how countries in the Middle East have been blocking and throttling the Internet in the last week. His analysis indicates that while both Bahrain and Yemen had periods of slowed or impaired access, only Libya seems to have taken the drastic step of shutting off the Net entirely.

February 22, 2011 3:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belgium

CPJ calls on EU leaders to get their house in order

CPJ's Jean-Paul Marthoz said at the Brussels launch of Attacks on the Press that the EU must not give authoritarian governments in neighboring states an alibi to crackdown on their own press. (CPJ)

The European Policy Centre (EPC), Brussels' leading think tank, hosted CPJ for a policy dialogue marking the launch of our annual survey, Attacks on the Press, on Tuesday. CPJ's visit to Brussels coincided with a heated debate over Hungary's new controversial media law, which has eclipsed the country's first months as EU's rotating president. The law became a focus of our Tuesday discussion.

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Europe and Central Asia Analysis

On the Runet, Old-School Repression Meets New

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched a blog but the Kremlin promised to tightly control who can comment on it. (Reuters)

By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Armenia

Top Developments
• New broadcast law gives regulators broad powers to revoke TV licenses.
• Gala TV, a rare critical broadcaster, faces array of government pressures.

Key Statistic
1: Number of digital television licenses the government will grant per region. The plan will cut diversity.


As his government strengthened ties with Russia, President Serzh Sargsyan had to quell lingering domestic discontent over electoral fraud and economic woes, particularly in the construction and mining industries. New legislation granted regulators broad new powers to award and revoke licenses, while putting severe limits on the number of provincial broadcast licenses. Self-censorship remained widespread in the media, as lawlessness curbed the activities of journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition leaders.

February 15, 2011 12:47 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Azerbaijan

Top Developments
• European Court orders release of Eynulla Fatullayev; government still jails editor.
• News sites report periodic blocking, typically when sensitive stories are posted.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists interrogated by security agents after running a statement from the jailed Fatullayev


The authoritarian government of President Ilham Aliyev relied on imprisonments and an atmosphere of impunity to suppress independent journalism. Aliyev, who essentially inherited the presidency of the strategic Caspian Sea nation from his father, used the country's vast oil and gas resources to play off the competing interests of traditional partners Russia and Turkey with those of newer allies such as the European Union and the United States.

February 15, 2011 12:46 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press 2010: Belarus

Top Developments
• Authorities wage post-election crackdown, raiding newsrooms and jailing reporters.
• New Internet law requires registration of sites, tracking of user activity.

Key Statistic
20: Journalists detained as government silences coverage of election protests.


In a massive post-election crackdown, authorities raided news outlets and detained at least 20 journalists covering protests over a flawed December 19 presidential vote that delivered a new term to incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenko. Leading journalists such as Natalya Radina, editor of the pro-opposition news website Charter 97, and Irina Khalip, correspondent for the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta, were among those being held in late year. Security agents stormed newsrooms of major outlets, including Radio for Belarus and the satellite television channel Belsat. Observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe criticized the government for secretive vote-counting practices and suppression of news media.

February 15, 2011 12:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kazakhstan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Kazakhstan

Top Developments
• New laws restrict online news media, shield government officials from scrutiny.
• OSCE chairman Kazakhstan undermines organization with repression at home.

Key Statistic
44 Defamation complaints filed in first six months of 2010, many of them by government officials.


President Nursultan Nazarbayev's government failed to deliver the press freedom reforms it had promised in exchange for gaining 2010 chairmanship of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE. Not only did the government renege on explicit pledges to decriminalize libel and bring press laws in line with international standards, it enacted a restrictive new measure governing Internet content and a sweeping privacy law that shielded government officials from public scrutiny.

February 15, 2011 12:28 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kyrgyzstan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Kyrgyzstan

Top Developments
• Bakiyev censors news media in a failed attempt to hold power.
• Amid ethnic clashes, Uzbek journalists and outlets targeted for reprisals.

Key Statistic
2: Ethnic Uzbek journalists imprisoned as of December 1.


In a year of political revolt and deadly ethnic turmoil, successive presidential administrations cracked down on the press, using censorship, intimidation, and imprisonment. The ouster of the authoritarian Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April, followed in June by wrenching conflict between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek residents in the south, cut a deep divide in the nation and put its democratic future at risk. At least two journalists were confined when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists on December 1, illustrating unchanging repression despite changes in leadership.

February 15, 2011 12:27 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Russia

Top Developments
• Some progress in journalist murder probes, but attacks continue with impunity.
• FSB given broad detention powers in measure that targets critical media.

Key Statistic
5: Unsolved journalist murder cases that Russia's top investigators pledged to reopen.


The nation's top investigative agency reopened a series of unsolved journalist murders and reported progress on several fronts. But with convictions elusive, impunity in anti-press attacks continued to stain the nation's international image. Russia ranked eighth on CPJ's 2010 Impunity Index, reflecting one of the worst records in the world, as all but one of 19 press murders since 2000 went unsolved. While no journalists were murdered in 2010, at least one reporter was brutally beaten in retaliation for his work. And that assailant, like nearly all attackers in anti-press cases, remained at large.

February 15, 2011 12:19 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Serbia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Serbia

Top Developments
• Authorities win convictions in anti-press attacks, improve access to information.
• Constitutional Court strikes down restrictive media ownership regulations.

Key Statistic
3: Suspects convicted and sentenced to prison for threats against B92 journalist.


Serbian authorities stepped up law enforcement efforts in attacks against journalists, winning convictions in high-profile cases, even as they pursued some restrictive media policies. These sometimes contradictory media practices reflected the broader political goals of President Boris Tadic, who pursued liberal policies such as seeking European Union membership and reconciling with neighboring Balkan states, while appealing to conservatives by refusing to recognize Kosovo's independence and failing to arrest indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic.

February 15, 2011 12:17 AM ET

2011

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