New York, January 18, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores the ongoing imprisonment of independent journalists in Belarus and urges authorities to cease their crackdown and release all jailed reporters and editors. On Monday, authorities in Minsk and the eastern city of Mogilev jailed two more independent reporters on politicized charges.
When you see the top echelon of the EU press corps--The Guardian, Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Le Soir, and others--gathering in front of a meeting room at the European Parliament in Brussels you know that you should follow them inside. These seasoned correspondents select their assignments with a keen sense of urgency, and when they skip the daily 12 o'clock press briefing at the European Commission you know that they mean business.
Life is full of surprises. In Eurasia, authoritarian leaders and their entourages like to pull them out around the holidays. What made my eyes open wide this season was a news report from Azerbaijan, dated December 29. The Baku-based Trend news agency said President Ilham Aliyev had been given the "Journalists' Friend Award" by the Azerbaijani Committee for the Protection of Journalists. That's the same President Aliyev whose government is imprisoning newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev in defiance of two rulings by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.
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