Europe & Central Asia

2011

Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ukraine

Top Developments
• Provincial reporters targeted in a series of attacks; editor reported missing.
• Television journalists continue to face heavy political influence.

Key Statistic
1: Mastermind identified in Gongadze murder. Prosecutors stir controversy by blaming only a dead official for the plot.


The disappearance of a critical editor, a series of violent attacks, and several instances of politicized government regulation fueled deteriorating press freedom conditions. Authorities brought charges against another suspect in the 2000 murder of editor Georgy Gongadze, but they ended their long investigation amid controversy by naming a dead official as the sole mastermind.

February 15, 2011 12:08 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Uzbekistan

Top Developments
• State deploys analysts to build sweeping criminal defamation cases.
• Numerous regional and international news websites are blocked.

Key Statistic
6: Journalists in prison on December 1, the highest figure in the region.


Even as President Islam Karimov was calling for more "active" news reporting, his government was rolling out a new tactic designed to quash critical journalism. Using an obscure state agency to formulate the charges, Uzbek prosecutors arrested at least three journalists on vague allegations of defamation. In one of the cases, a photographer was convicted of insulting the whole of Uzbek citizenry with her images of life in rural Uzbekistan.

February 15, 2011 12:06 AM ET

Blog   |   Belgium, France, Turkey

Paris and Brussels mobilize for Hrant Dink murder trial

People keep vigils in hopes for justice in the murder of Hrant Dink. (Reuters)

On January 19, 2007, Hrant Dink, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish weekly Agos, was gunned down in front of his office building in Istanbul. The murder sent shockwaves through the Turkish and international human rights and press freedom communities. It also triggered a mobilization of thousands of Turkish intellectuals, activists, and citizens that marched through the streets of Istanbul under banners claiming "We are all Hrant Dink."

February 11, 2011 5:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Andrzej Poczobut sentenced to prison in Belarus

New York, February 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's imprisonment in Minsk of Andrzej Poczobut, a Grodno correspondent for the largest Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, and calls on Belarusian authorities to release him immediately.

February 11, 2011 4:18 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Guardian correspondent expelled from Russia

AP

New York, February 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Russian authorities today to allow Luke Harding, Moscow correspondent for the U.K. Guardian, to return to Russia and resume his work. Harding, at left, was refused entry to Russia on Saturday.

The journalist had temporarily returned to London in the fall to report on U.S. diplomatic cables released to the Guardian by WikiLeaks. He tried to re-enter the country on a valid visa, but was turned down at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, Harding told CPJ. A guard seized his passport and led him to a detention unit. He told the journalist: "Access to Russia is closed to you," without further explanation, Harding said.

February 8, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Russia

Russian media combats false piracy prosecutions

Some good news out of Samara. As we've reported previously, trumped-up piracy accusations have been frequently used in Russia to intimidate independent media. Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, a Russian editor, has spent years fighting piracy prosecutions against himself and his publications in the region. This week, he was declared not guilty. Russia's Finance Ministry was ordered to pay him 450,000 rubles or $15,200 for the false charge of using pirated software. RFE/RL reports:

Kurt-Adzhiev appealed the court's decision over a period of two and a half years. Samara's Oktyabr (October) district court ruled on February 2 that Kurt-Adzhiev was not guilty and ordered the ministry pay compensation.

Kurt-Adzhiev told journalists he was satisfied with the court's ruling. He said the case against him in 2008 was politically motivated. He said police also visited the branch offices of "Novaya Gazeta" in Nizhny Novgorod in 2008 and confiscated computers.
February 4, 2011 2:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan denies Fatullayev's appeal, defies ECHR ruling

Fatullayev (IRFS)

New York, February 1, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged that the Baku Appeals Court has rejected imprisoned editor Eynulla Fatullayev's latest appeal and continues to defy a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that called for his release.

On January 25, the court denied Fatullayev's appeal of his July conviction on a trumped-up charge of drug possession, the independent Caucasus news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported. His lawyers will contest the ruling at Azerbaijan's Supreme Court, and file a new case at the European court, his father, Emin Fatullayev, told CPJ.

February 1, 2011 5:49 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

Belarus frees Radina, Khalip but sets severe restrictions

New York, January 31, 2011--Belarusian authorities must lift restrictions on newly freed journalists Natalya Radina and Irina Khalip, and drop the fabricated charges against them, the Committee to Protect Journalist said today. CPJ also called for the immediate release of the still-jailed reporters Boris Goretsky and Yevgeny Vaskovich.

Blog   |   Belarus, Uzbekistan

EU has contradictory message on Karimov, Lukashenko

After defying the EU for years, Uzbek President Islam Karimov is welcomed by Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. (Reuters/Thierry Roge)

Unless European Union officials mean to expose the inconsistency of their own policymaking, they should stand firm by their declared commitment to defend press freedom and human rights in the former Soviet countries. For now, their drastically different approaches to authoritarian leaders in Belarus and Uzbekistan leave one questioning the EU's strategy. 

January 24, 2011 11:19 AM ET

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2011

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