Europe & Central Asia

2014


Blog   |   Russia

Russian actor condemned for wearing press insignia and firing weapons

Russian actor Mikhail Porechenkov has joined basketball star Dennis Rodman, who declared North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un his best friend, and Jennifer Lopez who sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to the authoritarian leader of Turkmenistan, on the list of celebrities who have made human rights faux pas.

October 31, 2014 4:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Hungary

In Hungary, an independent website defies censorship and pressure

Tamás Bodoky, editor-in-chief of Atlatszo, which advocates for information access. (AFP/Peter Kohalmi)

A delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists, led by board member Kati Marton, traveled to Hungary in October on CPJ's first fact-finding and advocacy mission to an EU member state. We went there in response to concerning reports of deteriorating conditions for the press, and met dozens of journalists, media lawyers, managers, rights defenders, and policy analysts. Those we spoke to described an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship, and how critical reporting and alternative views are suppressed through a variety of means, including legal and economic measures that stifle and discourage independent coverage.

But there were signs of hope. Enterprising journalists are defying authorities' attempts to interfere with editorial policies and silence sensitive stories. The editorial team of one such news website, Atlatszo--the name means "transparent"--specializes in investigative journalism and advocating for information access. In Budapest, CPJ visited Atlatszo's offices, housed in an old department store.

October 31, 2014 10:52 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan jails yet another critical reporter

New York, October 30, 2014--A court in Azerbaijan today sentenced Khalid Garayev, a reporter for the embattled opposition newspaper Azadliq and the technical director of "Azerbaijani Hour," Azadliq's online TV program, to almost a month in prison on charges of hooliganism and disobeying the police, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Hungary

Mission Journal: Creeping authoritarianism in Hungary

People protesting in Budapest about a new Internet tax on data use hold up their smartphones. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

On the Buda side of the River Danube stands the glass and steel headquarters of the thriving German-owned entertainment channel RTL. On the Pest side of the Hungarian capital, tucked in a corner of a converted department store, lies the cramped office of struggling online news outlet Atlatszo.

October 30, 2014 12:14 PM ET

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Statements   |   France, Indonesia

Two French journalists convicted, sentenced in Indonesia

New York, October 24, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's conviction and sentencing to prison of French documentary filmmakers Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat on charges of breaking immigration laws in Indonesia. The two were sentenced to two months and 15 days in prison and are expected to be released next week because of time served, according to news reports citing their lawyer.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ joins call for Azerbaijan to end persecution of investigative reporter

A coalition of international press freedom groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, today called on Azerbaijani authorities to lift the travel ban and end the politicized prosecution of Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning investigative reporter. In the past week authorities in Baku detained Ismayilova upon her arrival from Strasbourg where she had traveled to brief European politicians on Azerbaijan's human rights record; put her on trial over accusations of libel against a resident; and barred her from attending a pro-democracy forum in the Czech Republic, alleging that she was a witness in an unspecified criminal inquiry.

October 16, 2014 5:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Hungary

Amid government crackdown, Hungary's journalists look for new ways to work

"They raided our offices as if we were mobsters. The irony of the situation is that the Hungarian police rarely raid mobsters with such force," said an employee at one of two NGOs whose Budapest offices were stormed by about 20 officers of the Central Investigations Office--Hungary's version of the FBI--on September 8.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey's reform fatigue, the EU's enlargement fatigue, and press freedom

A full Turkey membership would have a major impact on the EU domestic order and foreign standing. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

"The European Commission expressed serious concern about developments in the area of rule of law and fundamental rights (in Turkey)." It is progress report season in Brussels. As every year in early October, the commissioner in charge of enlargement unveils documents that judge the progress of all candidate countries in adopting European Union (EU) laws and standards, and Turkey is at the forefront.

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Crimean Tatar broadcaster accused of inciting extremism

New York, September 24, 2014--Kremlin-controlled authorities in Crimea should stop harassing the independent regional broadcaster ATR and allow the outlet to cover the news free from reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. ATR is the only regional broadcaster of the ethnic Crimean Tatar minority.

September 24, 2014 3:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Journalists investigating deaths of Russian soldiers are threatened and attacked

Journalists investigating the deaths of Russian soldiers that news reports claimed were killed during Russia's alleged involvement in Ukraine's conflict have been targeted in a series of attacks since late August, according to a press freedom group. Russia has denied that its soldiers were involved in the conflict, but journalists who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists said the attacks, mostly by unknown assailants, began after they tried to investigate the mysterious deaths of Russian soldiers.

Statements   |   Syria, UK

Militant group must release kidnapped British journalist

September 18, 2014, New York--The Islamic State militant group released a video today that shows John Cantlie, a British freelance journalist kidnapped in Syria in 2012, making what he said would be the first of a series of statements, according to news reports. Cantlie's abduction in Syria nearly two years ago was not previously reported by CPJ and other groups at the request of his family.

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities raid newsroom, bar entry to Russian journalists

A monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin is painted in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag in the town of Velikaya Novoselovka in the Donetsk region. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

New York, September 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's raid by Ukrainian security agents on the independent newspaper Vesti as well as moves by Ukrainian authorities to bar entry to dozens of Russian journalists and media workers.

September 11, 2014 5:36 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Crimean journalist forced into exile after interrogation

New York, September 9, 2014--Independent reporter and blogger Elizaveta Bogutskaya has fled Crimea after authorities in the peninsula raided her home on Monday, confiscated notebooks and other reporting equipment, and detained Bogutskaya for six hours over allegations of extremist activity, according to news reports.

September 9, 2014 3:53 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Russian photojournalist Andrei Stenin killed in Ukraine

Russian photojournalist Andrei Stenin died in Ukraine. (AFP/Vasily Maximov)

New York, September 3, 2014--Russian authorities and news outlets reported today that Andrei Stenin, the 33-year-old Russian photojournalist for the state-owned news agency Rossiya Segodnya, who went missing in Ukraine in early August, was killed in the country's Donetsk region.

"We condemn the killing of Andrei Stenin, which calls attention once again to the dangers of covering the conflict in Ukraine from any side," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We urge Ukrainian authorities to do their utmost to conduct an effective probe into the circumstances of his death, and call on pro-Russia separatists to allow investigators access to the territory where Stenin was reportedly found."

September 3, 2014 6:18 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Journalist severely beaten in Nakhchivan republic of Azerbaijan

New York, August 29, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns the savage beating of Ilgar Nasibov, an independent journalist and human rights defender based in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR)--a mountainous exclave of Azerbaijan where the practice of journalism is severely restricted.

Statements   |   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine must reverse ban on Russian TV channels

New York, August 20, 2014--On Tuesday, Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov ordered cable operators in the country to stop airing 14 Russian TV channels in an effort to curb Russia's war propaganda, according to news reports. The Interior Ministry cited Russia's decision to ban Ukrainian TV channels in Crimea as a justification for the order, as well as Ukraine's right to "defend its information space from Russia's informational aggression," according to Anton Gerashchenko, Avakov's adviser.

August 20, 2014 2:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Journalist's death in North Caucasus calls for independent investigation

On July 31, 26-year-old reporter, blogger, and civil activist Timur Kuashev disappeared in Nalchik, the regional capital of Russia's North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkariya. When such news breaks in the volatile region--where journalists and human rights defenders are slaughtered regularly and with impunity--families prepare for the worst. The next day, a body resembling Kuashev's turned up in a forested area on the outskirts of Nalchik. The journalist's parents confirmed that it was indeed their son, and a nightmare for every parent unfolded--an autopsy, a preliminary investigation, and waiting for results that would show how the young, athletic man had suddenly died of what officials concluded was heart-related problems.

August 19, 2014 6:21 PM ET

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Alerts   |   France

French news site Rue89 suffers cyberattacks, staffers harassed

Brussels, August 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns repeated cyberattacks on Paris-based news website Rue89 and the harassment of members of its staff and their families since the site published a profile of an Internet hacker last month.

Statements   |   Ukraine

Ukraine must clarify status of Russian journalist

New York, August 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to clarify the status of Andrei Stenin, the Russian photojournalist for the state news agency Rossiya Segodnya (previously RIA Novosti) who was reported missing on August 5 in eastern Ukraine. According to Russian news reports, Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs, said Stenin had likely been detained by Ukraine's security service, or the SBU. Earlier, the SBU had denied holding Stenin. Gerashchenko also said that Stenin may be accused of "aiding and glorification of terrorism," the reports said. A short time later, Gerashchenko told Rossiya Segodnya that his comments had been taken out of context and that he was unaware of Stenin's whereabouts.

August 12, 2014 1:14 PM ET

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Statements   |   Ukraine

Russian photojournalist missing in eastern Ukraine

New York, August 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Andrei Stenin, Russian photojournalist for the state news agency Rossiya Segodnya (previously RIA Novosti). The agency said it had not heard from Stenin since August 5, when he was reporting on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including from the cities of Donetsk and Sloviansk. An unnamed source cited by Rossiya Segodnya said Stenin had been abducted by Ukrainian militia and was in the custody of the Ukrainian security service (SBU) in the city of Zaporozhye. The SBU denied the allegation, according to Rossiya Segodnya.

August 11, 2014 1:19 PM ET

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Statements   |   Turkey

Turkish prime minister publicly chastises Economist correspondent

New York, August 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by comments made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against a journalist on Thursday. At an election rally in southern Turkey, Erdoğan called Amberin Zaman, local correspondent for The Economist, "a shameless militant disguised under the name of a journalist," and urged her to "know your place," the Economist reported. The prime minister was reacting to remarks Zaman made when she interviewed an opposition leader on TV the day before. Pro-government supporters took to social media and condemned Zaman's comments.

August 8, 2014 2:23 PM ET

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Statements   |   Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, media watchdog raided, equipment confiscated

New York, August 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to stop harassing the Baku-based media freedom group Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety. Detectives with Azerbaijan's Prosecutor General's Office raided the IRFS premises today, the local press reported. A journalist who was at the raid told CPJ that the detectives confiscated some of their equipment, including computers. The whereabouts of IRFS's director, Emin Huseynov, are unknown, the local press said. Two days ago, authorities stopped Huseynov from exiting Azerbaijan when he tried to travel to Turkey for medical treatment, according to the local news website Contact.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.

"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."

But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

In Ukraine, journalists injured, detained, expelled

New York, July 28, 2014--In recent days in Ukraine, an international journalist was wounded in a car crash caused by separatists' gunfire, a local journalist was detained by separatists, a Russian reporter for Bloomberg News was briefly detained by a Ukrainian army unit, and a foreign journalist was expelled by Ukrainian authorities, according to press freedom groups and local and international media.

Blog   |   Russia, Ukraine

Mission Journal: Attacks on journalists in Ukraine lead to information vacuum

"There are no [independent] Ukrainian journalists left in Donetsk," said Aleksei Matsuka, chief editor of the regional news website Novosti Donbassa (News of Donbass). "They have fled the region since pro-Russia separatists started targeting and kidnapping reporters," Matsuka told CPJ during our brief meeting in Kiev.

Blog   |   Ukraine

In Ukraine, some updates on this week's abducted and missing journalist(s)

On Wednesday, we reported that in Ukraine this week, at least two journalists had gone missing, while pro-Russia separatists abducted a fixer and briefly detained a reporter. Also, the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic said it was banning journalists from the conflict area. We noted that press freedom violations "are happening at dizzying speed in eastern Ukraine."

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists missing, fixer kidnapped, press banned in eastern Ukraine

An armed separatist orders a journalist to leave the area near the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Donetsk region. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

New York, July 23, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a series of recent anti-press violations in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk. In the past two days, at least two journalists have gone missing, while pro-Russia separatists abducted a fixer and briefly detained a reporter, according to news reports and press freedom and human rights groups. The moves come as the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic today banned journalists from the conflict area.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists detained, threatened while covering MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine

New York, July 21, 2014--Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine should stop threatening and obstructing journalists from reporting on the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Case   |   Russia, Ukraine

Ukrainian reporter held for reporting in Russia without work permit

Russian authorities arrested Yevgeny Agarkov, a reporter with the Ukrainian television station 1+1, on July 18, 2014, and accused him of working in Russia without a proper accreditation, according to news reports. Agarkov had traveled there to cover the controversial prosecution and trial of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, whom Russia accused of involvement in the killing by mortar fire of reporter Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin, both with the Russian state-owned broadcaster VGTRK.

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish prime minister sues journalist for insult on Twitter

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on July 10, 2014, that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office to launch a criminal investigation against Bülent Keneş, editor-in-chief of the English-language daily newspaper Today's Zaman, on charges of "insulting a public official."

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

The British government's attempt to rush through a bill on data retention before the House of Commons summer recess next week has run into opposition--not from members across the aisle but from Internet companies, civil liberty defenders, and lawyers, who say the law would extend the authorities' already vast snooping capabilities.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

CPJ meets with Kyrgyz prosecutor-general, calls for reopening Askarov case

This photo of Askarov was taken at the start of the trial in September 2010. (Nurbek Toktakunov)

This month, the prosecutor-general of Kyrgyzstan, Aida Salyanova, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that her office is working hard to fight corruption and ensure transparency in government activities.

We are not convinced.

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish journalist on trial for insulting prime minister

Erol Özkoray, Turkish journalist and author, appeared in court for the third time on June 18, 2014, on charges of insulting the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his book, The Gezi Phenomenon, according to news reports. The book covered the popular anti-government protests that erupted in Turkey in 2013 after the government announced its decision to turn a park in downtown Istanbul into a shopping mall.

Case   |   Turkey

Turkish cartoonist jailed for insulting religious leader

On June 12, 2014, Mehmet Düzenli, a cartoonist, was taken into custody to begin serving a three-month prison term he was given after being convicted of insulting controversial religious leader and TV figure Adnan Oktar (also known as Harun Yahya) in his drawings. The daily pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported that Düzenli was convicted by the 2nd Penal Court of Peace in Serik, Antalya province, on April 10, 2014. Düzenli is serving his term at Alanya Prison in the Alanya district of Antalya, the reports said.

Blog   |   Hungary

Hungary's independent media struggle against economic pressure, intimidation

Viktor Orban was re-elected Hungary's prime minister by Parliament in May. (Reuters/Bernadett Szabo)

"This is a new wave of clampdowns by the government--they want to have another four-year term with even less critical media than before," said Szabolcs, a 21-year-old economics student, one of thousands of people who marched in the streets of Budapest in June, chanting "Free Country, Free Press!" The demonstrations were in reaction to several restrictive measures pushed through by Hungary's re-elected government led by the center-right Fidesz party, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Blog   |   France

French muckraker Mediapart to appeal to European Court of Human Rights

In the course of a couple of hours on Wednesday, France was rocked by two judicial decisions with profound political repercussions for French politics and the press' right to publish. Just as a baffled public learned that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had been put under formal investigation for corruption and influence-peddling, France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld a July 2013 lower court ruling ordering the muckraking news website Mediapart to take down 72 articles related to "l'affaire Bettencourt." It's a fight destined to continue, with a founder of Mediapart vowing to take the free-press case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Blog   |   Internet, Russia

Russia intensifies restrictions on blogs, social media

On August 1, Russia will significantly tighten its grip on blogging and social media conversations and will acquire expanded powers to block Internet services originating abroad. The new authorities, approved by Russia's parliament in April, buttress existing regulations that have already been used to block several independent news sites, some of which reported on the political upheaval in Ukraine in a way that apparently drew the government's ire.

Blog   |   Russia

Despite recent convictions, Anna Politkovskaya's murder remains unsolved

Nearly eight years after Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in an elevator near her apartment, authorities appear to have made little progress identifying the mastermind behind her murder. Although five men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on June 9 for their roles in the slaying of the Novaya Gazeta journalist, her family and friends say Russian officials are dragging their feet in finding the real culprit.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Ukrainian journalists held by pro-Russian separatists

New York, July 1, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores the detention of at least three Ukrainian journalists by pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine and calls for their immediate release.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Russian cameraman killed in eastern Ukraine

New York, June 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the killing Sunday in the Donetsk region of Anatoly Klyan, a cameraman with the Russian state-owned broadcaster Pervy Kanal (Channel One). Klyan, 68, died at a local hospital where he was treated for a gun wound to his abdomen, local and international press reported.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists, media outlets remain in the crosshairs in eastern Ukraine

New York, June 27, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns continued pressure on the media in the eastern Ukraine region of Donetsk and calls on separatists to allow journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Russian journalist and media worker killed in eastern Ukraine

New York, June 17, 2014--A Russian journalist and a media worker died from injuries they sustained in mortar fire in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk today, according to Russian and international media reports. Igor Kornelyuk, correspondent for the state-owned broadcaster VGTRK, and Anton Voloshin, a sound engineer, were reporting on the deadly clashes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, reports said.

Alerts   |   Kyrgyzstan

CPJ calls for a renewed investigation in Askarov's case

New York, June 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Bishkek City Court's refusal to open a new investigation into the case of Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights defender who has been imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan since 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing wrongdoing. The court scrapped today an earlier decision by a lower Bishkek court, which had ruled that the journalist's case should be reinvestigated. Askarov's lawyer has said he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, reports said.

Statements   |   Russia

CPJ welcomes sentences in Politkovskaya case, but mastermind still at large

New York, June 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists said it is encouraged by today's progress in solving the 2006 slaying of prominent independent journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but noted that the mastermind still walks free. A Moscow court sentenced five defendants to lengthy prison sentences for carrying out the murder almost eight years ago.

June 9, 2014 1:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

In eastern Ukraine, newsroom burned down, telecom company halts broadcasts

New York, June 6, 2014--A local newsroom was burned down on Thursday in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine and a telecommunication company stopped broadcasting content from six Ukrainian TV channels, citing threats, according to news reports and press freedom groups. In both cases, separatists with the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) were believed to be the perpetrators, the reports said.

Statements   |   Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA

G-7 acknowledges post-2015 agenda should include governance, human rights

New York, June 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the declaration today by leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations that democratic governance and human rights should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda.  The United Nations is seeking agreement on a broad set of sustainable development objectives to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015 and which made no mention of political or civil rights. The new goals will provide a framework for donor aid and thus influence priorities for years to come.

Blog   |   Spain

EU 'right to be forgotten' ruling will corrupt history

Google has taken its first public steps to comply with a troubling ruling by the European Court of Justice establishing a so-called "right to be forgotten" throughout the European Union. The ruling, on May 13, requires that search companies consider individuals' demands to remove Internet links that reference them, and to give those requests priority over the public's broader information needs. The links may be required to be erased even if the content is truthful, lawfully published, and causes no prejudice to the individual. 

Alerts   |   Turkey

Reporter disparaged in Turkish parliament, journalists harassed

New York, June 3, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today's reports that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Parliament called CNN journalist Ivan Watson a "flunky" and said the foreign press was "literally executing their duties as agents" in connection with the coverage of protests in Istanbul. The move follows the brief detention and manhandling by police of Watson and multiple Turkish journalists on Saturday, according to news reports. 

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists, editors detained in Crimea, eastern Ukraine

New York, June 2, 2014--At least five journalists in Crimea and mainland Ukraine were detained today, two of whom were still being held, by Russian authorities and pro-Russia separatists, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detentions and urges all sides of the crisis in Ukraine to allow journalists to do their job without fear of reprisal. 

Impact   |   Brazil, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2014

CPJ's Brazil report spurs government meetings on press freedom

CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos and CPJ Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría traveled to Brasilia this month to launch a new special report, "Halftime for the Brazilian press," and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as other high-level government officials. CPJ also presented President Rousseff with the report's recommendations.

Brazil is home to a vibrant investigative press, but journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free, CPJ's report found. Brazil is the 11th deadliest country in the world for journalists, and at least 10 have been killed in direct reprisal for their work since President Rousseff came to power, CPJ research shows. 

May 30, 2014 12:29 PM ET

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Alerts   |   Italy, Ukraine

International journalist and his fixer killed in Ukraine

New York, May 27, 2014--On Saturday, Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian interpreter and fixer, Andrei Mironov, were killed in mortar fire outside the eastern city of Sloviansk, according to regional and international press reports. A French photojournalist, William Roguelon, was also wounded in the attack, reports said. 

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Russian journalists barred from entering Ukraine

New York, May 23, 2014--Several Russian journalists were barred from entering Ukraine this past week, ahead of Sunday's presidential vote, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the move and calls on Ukrainian authorities to allow all journalists to carry out their job without harassment.

Statements   |   Russia

Five convicted in murder of Anna Politkovskaya

New York, May 20, 2014--A Moscow City Court jury today convicted five individuals for planning, participating, and carrying out the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, local and international press reported. Three of the defendants had been acquitted in an earlier trial. A mastermind was not named in today's verdict.

May 20, 2014 4:24 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists held, questioned in Crimea, mainland Ukraine

New York, May 19, 2014--Ukrainian authorities are holding two foreign journalists, while five other journalists were interrogated in Crimea by Russian authorities over the weekend, according to news reports. 

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Court in Azerbaijan sentences journalist to eight years in jail

New York, May 15, 2014--The eight-year prison term given today to a journalist in Azerbaijan is a breach of the country's declared commitments to press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Parviz Hashimli is the editor of the independent news website Moderator and a reporter for the independent newspaper Bizim Yol

Statements

CPJ concerned by EU court ruling censoring search engines

San Francisco, May 13, 2014 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by today's ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which holds that Internet search engines can be compelled to remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links about an individual, even if the content at the link is true and legally posted

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Press freedom at low as Azerbaijan takes Council of Europe chairmanship

On Wednesday, Azerbaijan will assume chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The chairmanship process is automatic; the position is rotated every six months among all of the council's members, in alphabetical order. But Azerbaijan's chairmanship has proven more problematic than most, as it comes at a time when the country's fulfillment of its Council of Europe obligations is at its worst.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

In Ukraine, journalists face violence, abduction

New York, May 12, 2014--Local and international journalists covering the crisis in Ukraine have been assaulted and arbitrarily detained in the past week, according to news reports and a local press freedom organization. At least one was attacked while covering a contested referendum Sunday on autonomy for the east of the country, the reports said. 

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkey releases five more journalists

New York, May 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail today of five Turkish journalists--Nurettin Fırat, Yüksel Genç, Turabi Kişin, Ertuş Bozkurt, and Ramazan Pekgöz. The journalists were arrested in December 2011 as part of the Turkish government's crackdown on pro-Kurdish news outlets and were accused of membership or participation in the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan party, or KCK. The journalists are under a travel ban and still face charges, according to reports.

Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalists released from Turkish jails pending appeal

Journalists demonstrate for freedom for the media in Ankara February 15, 2014. The banner reads, 'If the press is free, society is also free.' (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

New York, May 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail on Thursday of Fusün Erdoğan, former general manager of Özgür Radyo, and Bayram Namaz, a columnist for the weekly Atılım, and urges Turkish authorities to remove restrictions on their travel and lift their prison sentences on appeal.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists shot, attacked covering clashes in Odessa

New York, May 5, 2014--At least three journalists were shot over the weekend and others assaulted while covering deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and their opponents in Odessa, southern Ukraine, according to news reports and a local press freedom group. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to stand by their declared commitment to ensure journalists' safety and hold those responsible to account. 

Statements   |   Ukraine

Journalists must be allowed to work in eastern Ukraine

New York, May 2, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's detention of several journalists--from CBS television, BuzzFeed, and Sky News--in Sloviansk, where pro-Russia separatists have for weeks harassed, obstructed, and detained journalists covering the crisis in eastern Ukraine. All of the journalists were released after being interrogated for hours, news reports said.

Statements   |   Kyrgyzstan

CPJ welcomes renewed probe into Askarov's case

New York, April 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists commends today's decision by Oktyabrsky District Court in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, to renew the investigation into the case of imprisoned journalist and rights defender Azimjon Askarov, who was imprisoned in 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing official wrongdoing.

April 30, 2014 4:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists missing, attacked covering crisis in Ukraine

New York, April 29, 2014--At least two journalists who traveled to eastern Ukraine have been reported missing in the past week, while at least four journalists have been attacked, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the targeting of journalists and media outlets in Ukraine and calls on all parties to allow them to work freely.

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Ten journalists to free from prison

On World Press Freedom Day,
CPJ calls for the release of all jailed journalists


Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is in prison in Egypt on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

By Shazdeh Omari/CPJ News Editor

New York, April 29, 2014—Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years, one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi was imprisoned in 2010 and has been beaten and whipped in custody. Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, serving a 12-year jail term, could barely walk or talk during a prison visit in July 2013, his family said.

Statements   |   Ukraine

Two journalists freed, one still in custody in eastern Ukraine

New York, April 25, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of two journalists in eastern Ukraine and calls for the release of a third journalist who has not been heard from since April 15. Sergei Lefter, reporter for the Warsaw-based Open Dialogue Foundation, is reportedly in custody of pro-Russian separatists led by Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of Sloviansk.

Letters   |   Hungary, Kenya

CPJ urges free expression be part of post-2015 MDG agenda

Dear Ambassadors Kamau and Kőrösi: I am writing to you in your capacity as the co-chairmen of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Your work and the recommendations of your group will help frame the discussion in the coming year as United Nations member states seek to agree a set of objectives to succeed the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015. We at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) believe it is vital that your report to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon later this year include freedom of expression and access to information and independent media as part of the post-2015 agenda.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

In Ukraine, another journalist missing, newsroom destroyed

New York, April 23, 2014--Three local and international journalists are missing or being held hostage in eastern Ukraine, while unidentified assailants burned down the offices of a newspaper. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists covering the crisis. 

Statements   |   Russia, Ukraine

VICE journalist held by pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine

New York, April 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter with the U.S.-based global news channel VICE News, who is being held in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk. Ostrovsky is in the custody of pro-Russian separatists led by self-proclaimed "people's mayor" Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, according to news reports.

Statements   |   Kazakhstan

CPJ condemns eradication of Kazakh independent media

New York, April 21, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the shutting down of Assandi-Times, the last remaining independent newspaper in Kazakhstan. A court in Almaty today declared the weekly a structural part of banned newspaper Respublika, three weeks after court marshals raided Assandi-Times' offices, ordered the journalists to stop working, tried to force the staff out and seal the premises, and confiscated the paper's archives.

April 21, 2014 1:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ukraine

Slideshow: Covering protests in Ukraine

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Independent editor assaulted in northeastern Ukraine

New York, April 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a brutal attack on an editor in Ukraine and calls on authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and apprehend the perpetrators. The editor should also be provided with protection while he is recovering in the hospital, CPJ said. 

Blog   |   Russia

Politkovskaya murder trial proceeds with third jury

Three of the defendants--from left, Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, Rustam Makhmudov, and Sergei Khadzikhurbanov--in Moscow's City Court. (AFP/Evgeny Feldman)

More than seven years after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the prominent Novaya Gazeta journalist, a jury is hearing the case against five defendants in the killing. The suspects were first announced in 2011, but proceedings did not begin until July 2013, amid controversy. Three of the current defendants were earlier acquitted of Politkovskaya's murder in a 2009 trial.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

Blog   |   Ukraine

Slideshow: Covering protests in Crimea

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

April 16, 2014 12:00 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Anti-press attacks rise as tensions escalate in Ukraine

British photojournalist Frederick Paxton is roughed up while reporting in the town of Horlivka. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

New York, April 14, 2014--Local and international journalists covering the volatile situation in eastern Ukraine have been harassed, attacked, detained, and had their equipment seized, according to news reports and regional press freedom groups. 

Statements   |   Turkey

UNESCO awards Ahmet Şık annual press freedom prize

New York, April 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists congratulates Turkish investigative journalist and book author Ahmet Şık on being awarded UNESCO's prestigious Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The annual prize, named after slain Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano Isaza, honors a journalist or organization that "has made an outstanding contribution to the defense of press freedom." Şık will receive the award on May 2 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, as part of the UNESCO celebrations for World Press Freedom Day.

Statements   |   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine must allow entry to Russian journalists

New York, April 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that Ukrainian border guards have denied entry to the country to several Russian journalists over the past few days. Reports say that journalists with the newly reshuffled RIA Novosti news agency, TV channels Rossiya and Russia Today, the business daily Kommersant, and Forbes-Russia magazine have all been turned down at the border. 

Letters   |   Turkey

Turkey should reverse all anti-press measures and laws

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: We are writing to express our concern about the Turkish government's recent steps to restrict the independent Turkish media. In the recent past, your country was hailed as a model for a region aspiring for freedom, democracy, and tolerance. But today Turkey is being criticized as a country that is drifting away from the principles and practices that define true democracy.

April 9, 2014 12:41 PM ET

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Statements

CPJ welcomes court ruling against EU data retention

Phoenix, April 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists hails today's decision by the European Court of Justice invalidating the European Union's mandatory data retention directive. The court found that the indiscriminate collection of metadata poses a "particularly serious" and disproportional interference with the right to privacy. Mass metadata surveillance is "likely to generate in the minds of the persons concerned the feeling that their private lives are the subject of constant surveillance," the court said.

April 8, 2014 6:05 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Outlets raided, journalists harassed in eastern Ukraine

New York, April 8, 2014--At least three news outlets and two journalists have been attacked and harassed in the past three days in eastern Ukraine, according to news reports and press freedom groups. 

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh authorities shut down another newspaper

New York, April 3, 2014--An independent paper, the Assandi Times, was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns recent measures taken by Kazakh authorities to shut down independent news outlets in the country. 

Blog   |   Morocco, Spain

Morocco accuses Spain's El País of inciting terrorism

Aboubakr Jamai, left, says the Spanish prosecutor's investigation will embold the Moroccan government in its case against Ali Anouzla. (AFP/Fadel Senna)

Morocco's inclination for wielding terrorism accusations against journalists and news outlets who report on extremist groups has extended to Spain, where authorities are investigating El País newspaper and one of its journalists at the behest of the Moroccan government.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Journalist flees Kazakhstan after court orders her arrest

New York, March 28, 2014--Authorities should drop all charges against a Kazakh journalist who has been accused of libel in connection with a story she has denied writing, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. If convicted, Natalya Sadykova faces up to three years in jail under Kazakhstan's criminal libel law. 

Alerts   |   Turkey

Turkish courts release eight journalists in two days

New York, March 27, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release this week of at least eight imprisoned journalists in Turkey, but calls on Turkish authorities to scrap the charges against them and release all of the journalists jailed in the country. 

Blog   |   Internet, Turkey

When the rule of law isn't: Turkey at the crossroads

A board shows alternative ways to access Twitter at an election campaign office of the main opposition Republican's People's Party in Istanbul March 25, 2014. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

In less than a week, Turkish voters will cast their ballots in local elections widely seen as a test of support for embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has faced growing questions about official corruption since a high-level probe first became public in December. Although many observers believe Erdoğan will survive the current political crisis , the prime minister's increasingly autocratic posturing has given rise to questions about his long-term political viability.

Alerts   |   Turkey

CPJ condemns Twitter ban in Turkey

Turkish citizens hold signs protesting Twitter being blocked in the country. (AFP/Adem Altan)

New York, March 21, 2014--Turkey banned access to the social media platform Twitter on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened in a public speech to shut it down, according to news reports. The move comes just ahead of March 30 elections and follows Erdoğan's threats to ban Facebook and YouTube.

Blog   |   Hungary

Hello, I'm Robert Capa, may I take a picture?

How would Robert Capa and Joe Pulitzer have reacted to the law that came into force on March 15 in their country of birth, Hungary? Let us guess that they would have been stunned. A provision in the new Hungarian civil code forbids taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph.

Letters   |   Russia

Putin should reverse steps to restrict independent press

Dear President Putin: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom advocacy group, is gravely concerned about recent steps to restrict Russia's independent media. The measures taken over the past three months threaten to eradicate Russian news outlets' freedom to freely report and analyze news events.

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

In Crimea, more journalists report attacks, obstruction

New York, March 18, 2014--At least six journalists have been assaulted, detained, or obstructed from reporting in the southern Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea in the past two days, according to news reports. 

Statements   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ condemns journalist's conviction in Azerbaijan

New York, March 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a five-year jail term given today to Tofiq Yaqublu, an Azerbaijani journalist with the opposition daily Yeni Musavat, and calls on authorities to overturn the verdict on appeal. Yaqublu, who was convicted of "organizing mass disorder," was arrested in January 2013 in connection with anti-government protests in the town of Ismayilli. He was covering the protests at the time of his arrest, his colleagues said. The journalist is appealing the verdict.

Statements   |   Russia

CPJ condemns blocking of news websites in Russia

New York, March 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the blocking today of independent and pro-opposition news websites in Russia, including Ezhednevny Zhurnal, Grani, Kasparov, and the website of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy. The popular blog of anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny and the personal blogging platform LiveJournal were also blocked. 

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

More journalists obstructed on the job in Crimea

New York, March 13, 2014--Journalists covering the ongoing crisis in the southern Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea continue to be detained, harassed, and obstructed, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides of the crisis to allow journalists to report freely on the events in Crimea and Ukraine. 

Statements   |   Russia, Ukraine

CPJ condemns Ukraine's order to take Russian TV off air

New York, March 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decree by Ukraine's National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting to cable and satellite providers on Tuesday to cut off the transmission of Russian state-controlled TV stations in the country. The order, which was immediately enforced, appears to be a response to Crimean authorities replacing the transmissions of Ukrainian and independent local TV stations last week with broadcasts from state-controlled Russian TV channels. 

Statements   |   Turkey

CPJ welcomes release of journalists in Turkey

New York, March 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release this week of five Turkish journalists who were imprisoned after being sentenced to jail in connection with the controversial Ergenekon case. Three of the journalists--Yalçın Küçük, Deniz Yıldırım, and Merdan Yanardağ--were convicted because of their work, according to CPJ research. In the cases of Tuncay Özkan and Hikmet Çiçek, CPJ had not been able to establish a connection.

Alerts   |   Afghanistan, Sweden, UK

British-Swedish journalist shot dead in Afghan capital

Nils Horner (AFP)

New York, March 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's fatal shooting of an international journalist in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and calls on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are held responsible. The shooting comes amid mounting risks for foreigners in Kabul. 

Two unidentified men approached Nils Horner, 51, in Kabul's diplomatic district this morning, according to a New York Times report citing Col. Najibullah Samsour, a senior police official. One of the assailants shot Horner in the head at close range, and then both men fled the scene, the report said.

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Journalists detained, attacked while reporting in Crimea

New York, March 11, 2014--Two reporters were detained by armed men in the autonomous republic of Crimea, in southern Ukraine, while other journalists have reported being assaulted covering the crisis and their equipment damaged or seized, according to news reports. More than a dozen broadcasters have also been censored, the reports said. 

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

UN reviews Kyrgyzstan's human rights, free press record

Today, the U.N. Human Rights Committee begins its two-day review of Kyrgyzstan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By ratifying the treaty in October 1994, Kyrgyz authorities pledged to enforce internationally recognized provisions regarding the protection of human rights, and freedom of expression, in their country.

But CPJ research shows that Kyrgyzstan has consistently violated ICCPR provisions. Attacks against reporters; impunity in journalist murders, including of journalist Alisher Saipov; blocking of the news website Ferghana News; the politicized prosecution of ethnic Uzbek media owners, including Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Mezon TV and Khalil Khudaiberdiyev of Osh TV; and the ongoing imprisonment of investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov have marred the climate of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan.

Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Independent media, journalists obstructed in Crimea

New York, March 3, 2014--Authorities in the autonomous republic of Crimea in southern Ukraine should ensure that media outlets and independent journalists are allowed to report on the political crisis in the region without being censored or harassed, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Russia

Russian channel taken off air, accused of crossing 'red line'

Inside the offices of Dozhd TV channel in early February. The channel has been dropped from cable and satellite providers. (AFP/Vasily Maximov)

Late last month, as thousands of international journalists prepared to descend on Sochi to cover the Winter Olympics, the Kremlin resorted to using a controversy to silence a critical television station. A direct move to shut down the station would have been too blunt--particularly at a time when all eyes were on Russia--so authorities resorted to exploiting a producer's blunder, blowing it out of proportion, and pushing a third party to do their bidding. This is what happened.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh court shuts down another critical newspaper

New York, February 25, 2014--The shutdown order issued by a district court in Almaty against the independent weekly newspaper Pravdivaya Gazeta is yet another example of Kazakhstan's determination to gag independent voices in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today, adding that the verdict should be overturned on appeal.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Prominent journalist harassed again in Azerbaijan

New York, February 21, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by the official harassment of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who is being criminally investigated in Baku in apparent retaliation for her reporting on government corruption. Ismayilova works for the Azerbaijani service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Blog   |   Ukraine, Venezuela

Body armor must match threat in Venezuela and Ukraine

Protesters take cover amid clashes with police in Kiev on February 20. (AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

Covering street violence is one thing. Covering gunfire is another. This week, firearms were unexpectedly introduced into ongoing clashes between protesters and police in two parts of the world, raising the threat level faced by journalists trying to cover events.

February 21, 2014 3:43 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalist among dead in Ukraine protests

A protester is seen near a barricade of flames between police and demonstrators in Kiev. (AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki)

New York, February 19, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by the murder of a journalist and reports that pro-government groups are targeting journalists covering nationwide protests in Ukraine. The demonstrations have left at least 26 people dead and several hundred injured, including journalists, according to news reports.

Statements   |   UK

Miranda ruling could set bad precedent for press freedom

New York, February 19, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by today's ruling by the U.K. High Court that said David Miranda was lawfully detained under antiterrorism legislation at Heathrow airport last summer.

Blog   |   UK

Cameron must consider UK press freedom's global example

Each year, members of the Global Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations gather to discuss threats to journalists around the world and plan action. Usually, we focus on frontline countries where journalists face life and death issues. But as our annual meeting took place in London this year, we couldn't help but notice the emerging threats to press freedom in the United Kingdom, which range from pressure applied to the Guardian in response to its reporting on the Snowden leaks to the royal charter that seeks to impose ethical standards on the print media in the aftermath of the phone hacking scandal.

Blog   |   Czech Republic, Uzbekistan

Pressure by CPJ, other groups keeps Karimov out of Prague

The Committee to Protect Journalists this week joined a campaign spearheaded by Human Rights Watch and Uzbek human rights defenders urging Czech President Milos Zeman to cancel Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov's visit to Prague. Zeman had invited Karimov to visit this month despite the Central Asian leader's notorious intolerance to freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and Uzbekistan's abysmal human rights record, which includes the Andijan massacre of May 2005.

February 13, 2014 3:23 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Cambodia, USA

Without Stronger Transparency, More Financial Crises Loom

The recent financial meltdown should be treated as a lesson on the importance of information transparency and the crucial role of a free press. By Michael J. Casey

Sharp swings in the stock market have led to questions about who stands to benefit from high-frequency trading. (AP/Richard Drew)

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Europe & Central Asia

Front-line reports and analytical essays by CPJ experts cover an array of topics of critical importance to journalists. Governments store transactional data and the content of journalists' communications. Media and money engage in a tug of war, with media owners reluctant to draw China's disfavor and advertisers able to wield surprising clout. In Syria, journalists are determined to distribute the news amid the chaos of conflict. In Vietnam, the government makes a heavy-handed bid to bring the Internet under control. And globally, eliminating witnesses has become an all too easy method of stymying justice when journalists are assassinated.

February 12, 2014 1:28 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Azerbaijan

As Azerbaijan prepared to assume the 2014 chairmanship of the Council of Europe—the largest European intergovernmental human rights and democracy organization—the authoritarian regime of President Ilham Aliyev shamelessly trampled on press freedom at home. The authorities continued to stifle critical voices, target free expression on the Web, and sentence reporters to lengthy prison terms. A local journalist was barred from leaving the country to pick up his journalism prize in Norway, while dozens of foreign media personnel were declared persona non grata in Azerbaijan. The harassment, including by the government-affiliated press, of investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova went unpunished. Aliyev extended criminal defamation laws to the Internet and tightened funding restrictions for domestic NGOs, including press freedom organizations, despite a domestic and international outcry. In June, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso offered Aliyev public support instead of holding the leader responsible for human rights and press freedom violations in his country. In October, the authoritarian leader was re-elected to his third term after the Central Elections Commission denied registration to opposition candidate Rustam Ibragimbekov.

February 12, 2014 1:26 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Belarus

The authoritarian regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko made a few concessions this year while trying to improve relations with the U.S. and the European Union. Authorities reversed their repressive stance in several high-profile cases, including dropping criminal defamation charges against one journalist and allowing Irina Khalip, a reporter serving a suspended jail term, to travel outside Belarus. The KGB also announced that it would not file charges against a journalist who was accused of complicity in an illegal border crossing in what became known as the "teddy bear case." Critics of the government warned the EU that Lukashenko was not implementing liberal reforms but merely trading "hostages" in exchange for the EU's easing of political and economic sanctions. Reports by a local press freedom group, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, supported the accusations: Authorities continued to harass Khalip, detained independent journalists, and denied accreditation to critical broadcasters and several local journalists. A court declared that a press photo album contained extremist materials and ordered it destroyed. Lukashenko instructed KGB's digital arm, the Operative Analytical Center, to intensify its control over the Web, saying that the media and social networks had the capacity to destabilize the country.

February 12, 2014 1:25 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Hungary

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Hungary

Hungary's record of press freedom and human rights deteriorated in 2013, resulting in calls from some European lawmakers to suspend the country's voting rights in the European Union. Authorities adopted controversial changes to the constitution in March, including a provision limiting pre-election political advertising solely to broadcasters--most of which are controlled by or affiliated with allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The amendments also curtailed the powers of Hungary's Constitutional Court by taking away its right to strike down unconstitutional laws. After news outlets tried to investigate allegations of government corruption, lawmakers introduced amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, restricting the amount of government data that individuals and nongovernmental groups, including media outlets, could access. In August, Orban faced criticism from press freedom advocates after he nominated an ally of his party, Fidesz, to lead the national Media Authority, which regulates all domestic and international media--including print, broadcast, and the Internet--as well as their publishers and service providers. In November, the Hungarian Parliament adopted the criminalization of libel, two weeks after the amendment was proposed by lawmakers.

February 12, 2014 1:24 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Italy

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Italy

In 2013, at least four journalists were convicted of libel in Italy, one of the few European Union states where defamation is still a criminal offense. In May, a Milan magistrate found three journalists guilty of libel and sentenced them to prison. In a separate case, a 79-year-old editor was sentenced to house arrest in October in connection with at least eight libel convictions against him between 2007 and 2012. The convictions were related to his articles and commentaries on public life in Italy, focusing on public figures involved in corruption cases. The independent newspaper La Stampa was attacked twice with explosive devices. Journalists continued to face threats and physical attacks from extremists and organized crime. According to OSSIGENO per l'Informazione, a local press freedom watchdog, scores of journalists received threats from unidentified persons throughout the year; several of them lived under police protection as a result.

February 12, 2014 1:23 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kazakhstan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Kazakhstan

The overall climate of press freedom continued to deteriorate although authorities took a step forward in combating impunity in one anti-press attack. Four individuals were convicted and sentenced to jail, and one more suspect was awaiting his trial at year's end in relation to an April 2012 attack on journalist Lukpan Akhmedyarov, but no mastermind was named or brought to justice. In February, authorities upheld verdicts ordering dozens of critical news outlets to be shut or blocked domestically on accusations of spreading extremism. As if unsatisfied by the ban, prosecutors continued to harass journalists with the now-outlawed independent newspaper Respublika and barred them from practicing journalism. Citing technical violations, authorities ordered at least three other critical newspapers to suspend publishing. According to the Almaty-based press freedom group Adil Soz, the unfounded and illegal ban on dozens of news outlets, intimidation of individual journalists, unsolved violence, hefty fines, and anti-press freedom laws cemented self-censorship among local reporters. During his June visit to Kazakhstan, British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to discuss these and other human rights abuses with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, but the Kazakh leader publicly told Cameron “not to lecture Kazakhstan.”

February 12, 2014 1:22 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kyrgyzstan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Kyrgyzstan

While President Almazbek Atambayev urged the state council in March to enforce rule of law and guarantee the protection of human rights, he demonstrated little political will to bring about such changes. Authorities showed no intent to revive the Uzbek-language media that thrived in southern Kyrgyzstan prior to the June 2010 conflict, in which clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Broadcasting in the largest minority language remained limited--only one broadcaster produced news in Uzbek. While access to the independent regional website Ferghana News was restored by most Internet service providers, the Kyrgyz government failed to repeal the June 2011 ban that recommended the outlet be blocked in connection with its coverage of the 2010 conflict. As a result, fear remained that authorities could legally block the website at any time. In May, Atambayev signed a vaguely worded anti-extremism bill that his critics said could be used to target free expression on the Web. Three years after the 2010 ethnic conflict, injustice continued to impair press freedom and human rights. The Kyrgyz leader publicly declared his commitment to revisit the case of imprisoned reporter Azimjon Askarov, but no action followed: Prosecutors failed to investigate the case even after new evidence emerged in Askarov's defense.

February 12, 2014 1:21 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Russia

While preparing to host the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia continued to pressure journalists and human rights defenders covering sensitive issues. Authorities intensified their squeeze on Internet speech and upping their anti-press rhetoric. Impunity in anti-press violence remained largely unaddressed; one journalist died as a consequence of a previous brutal attack, and another was murdered in the volatile North Caucasus region bordering Sochi. A Dutch photojournalist was denied a Russian visa, and a Norwegian television crew was obstructed in retaliation for their Sochi coverage. One editor was attacked, one parliament member threatened two journalists, and at least two journalists were imprisoned when CPJ conducted its annual prison census on December 1. Despite initial hopes, the retrial of several suspects in the 2006 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, was at a stalemate at year's end. But Russian authorities took an important step toward defeating impunity in the country: One suspect in the 2000 murder of another Novaya Gazeta journalist, Igor Domnikov, was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.

February 12, 2014 1:20 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Tajikistan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Tajikistan

Though a new media bill was signed into law, the legislation failed to decriminalize insulting the president or alleviate other repressive measures, and had no immediate effect on the climate of press freedom ahead of the November presidential vote. To pave the way for a smooth re-election of Emomali Rahmon to a fourth term in office, authorities continued to gag critical voices by using a set of repressive tactics: intimidation of journalists by security services, denial of accreditation, and exhaustive litigation. The state communications agency ordered Internet service providers to block access to news websites and social networking sites, including Facebook and YouTube. Two independent regional broadcasters accused the authorities of jamming their satellite signal at least three times during the year. In November, Rahmon was declared a winner of another seven-year term in office; his rival quit the race, citing obstruction by the elections commission.

February 12, 2014 1:19 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Turkey

For the second year in a row, Turkey was the world's leading jailer of the press, with 40 journalists behind bars, according to CPJ's annual prison census. Authorities continued to harass and censor critical voices, firing and forcing the resignation of almost 60 reporters in connection with their coverage of anti-government protests in Gezi Park in June. The government tried to censor coverage of sensitive events, threatened to restrict social media, and, in one case, used social media to wage a smear campaign against a journalist. Peace negotiations between the government and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, did not result in the expected release of Kurdish journalists. Legal amendments undertaken by the government did not result in meaningful reform of anti-press laws. In March, the Turkish Parliament began examining a bill known as the "fourth reform package," aimed at aligning the country's laws with international standards. The bill, adopted in September, introduced modest advancements, such as limiting the scope of a provision of the anti-terror law—"making terrorist propaganda"—that has been used against journalists, especially those who had reported on opposition parties. But the amendments did not address one of the most problematic articles of the penal code—"membership of an armed organization"—under which more than 60 percent of the imprisoned journalists in Turkey as of December 1, 2013, were charged. The jailing of journalists, the conflation of criticism with terrorism, and the government's heated anti-press rhetoric, which emboldened prosecutors to go after critics, marred Turkey's press freedom record and thwarted its aspirations to be regarded as a regional leader and democratic model.

February 12, 2014 1:18 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Ukraine

Despite its status as the 2013 chairman of the human rights and security agency the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Ukraine did little to promote press freedom in the region. Local reporters expressed doubt about the editorial independence of news outlets, as the owners of a critical broadcaster and a large media holding were replaced amid controversy. Several journalists also reported being threatened or harassed in connection with their coverage. At least 101 journalists were assaulted during the year, with police accused of participating in several of the attacks, local press freedom groups reported. In May, two journalists were attacked in front of police officers who failed to intervene. The official inaction spurred local demonstrations and an international outcry, leading to the assailants being given suspended prison terms four months later. While the conviction and life term handed in January to the killer of online journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000 was hailed as a milestone on the road to justice, CPJ and others continued to push for the mastermind to be brought to justice. At year's end, as the nation plunged into a weeks-long political crisis over the government's failure to sign an association agreement with the European Union, two other brutal assaults against the press triggered nationwide protests and an international outcry: On December 1, riot police brutally attacked and beat at least 51 local and international journalists while dispersing protests in the capital. Later that month, investigative reporter Tetyana Chornovol was hospitalized and diagnosed with a concussion and multiple head injuries after being violently assaulted by at least three men.

February 12, 2014 1:17 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   UK

Attacks on the Press in 2013: United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's tradition of an unfettered news media was marred by several developments in 2013. Parliamentary debate over recommendations from the 2012 Leveson Inquiry to address unethical behavior by media concluded with the creation of a royal charter that critics feared would enable political interference in press regulation and set a bad example for oppressive governments worldwide. A counterproposal by several newspaper leaders giving more power to the industry was rejected by the government, but publishers stalled execution of the official plan by creating a "tough" independent regulator. Though a bill to give police and security services greater ability to monitor Internet use—labeled the "snooper's charter" by its critics—was shelved, there were repeated revelations of mass surveillance by the U.S. and U.K. governments. The destruction of Guardian hard drives, the detention of David Miranda (who assisted the newspaper's coverage of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden) and a parliamentary grilling of Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger raised concerns internationally over intimidation of the press. Several journalists received threats from sectarian groups in Northern Ireland, and the 12-year-old unsolved murder of crime reporter Martin O'Hagan was set back when the prosecution announced that testimony of a key witness could not serve as evidence. In a positive development, the long-awaited Defamation Act reforming the U.K.'s plaintiff-friendly libel laws came into being.

February 12, 2014 1:16 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Uzbekistan

Following an established trend, authoritarian Uzbek leader Islam Karimov promised to address journalists' concerns but did not follow through by ending the repressive climate for the press in the country. The decades-long harassment against government critics has virtually wiped out the media landscape, forcing the domestic and international community to rely on rumors or leaked diplomatic cables to get information on topics including the aging leader's health or his reaction to international events. At least four journalists remained in jail in late 2013, where they were allegedly tortured and denied appropriate medical care. Human rights activists, including those in exile, also faced official harassment and prosecution after reporting on corruption and abuses in Uzbekistan. One exiled human rights activist, Nadezhda Atayeva, was sentenced to seven years in absentia on embezzlement charges after reporting on human rights abuses. One journalist, Sergei Naumov, was jailed on fabricated charges of hooliganism just days after an Uzbek official denied jailing critics and assured the U.N. Human Rights Council that authorities were complying with international human rights standards. But this soon became hard to verify: Citing official obstruction to its work, the International Committee of the Red Cross publicly announced in April that it had terminated visits to Uzbek prisons.

February 12, 2014 1:15 AM ET

Blog   |   Internet, UK, USA

Media surveillance and 'the day we fight back'

Today, a broad coalition of technology companies, human rights organizations, political groups, and others will take to the Web and to the streets to protest mass surveillance. The mobilization, known as "The Day We Fight Back," honors activist and technologist Aaron Swartz, who passed away just over a year ago. Throughout the day, the campaign will encourage individuals to contact their representatives, pressure their employers, and march for an end to government surveillance practices that sweep up huge amounts of data, often indiscriminately.

Blog   |   Montenegro

EU should scrutinize Montenegro--Wild West for the press

Vijesti Editor-in-Chief Mihailo Jovovic looks through a window damaged in a bomb blast at the newspaper's offices in Podgorica on December 27, 2013. (Reuters/Stevo Vasiljevic)

Nestled between Croatia's Dalmatian coast and Albania, the small state of Montenegro (14,000 square kilometers, 630,000 inhabitants) evokes images of sandy beaches, pristine lakes, and gorgeous mountains. The wild beauty advertised by its savvy tourist board, however, looks more like the Wild West for the Montenegrin press. In the past weeks a number of violent attacks against critical journalists have rocked the country. 

Statements   |   UK, USA

CPJ troubled by report GCHQ targeted journalists

San Francisco, February 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a report that a potential operation by the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) involved covert surveillance of reporters' communications. GCHQ sought to use journalists to pass both information and disinformation to intelligence targets, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News.

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkish president should veto Internet bill

San Francisco, February 6, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish President Abdullah Gül to veto the Internet bill passed Wednesday by the Turkish Parliament. The bill would grant the Turkish government unprecedented control over the Internet by allowing Web pages to be blocked without a court order, requiring mandatory data retention by Internet Service Providers, and authorizing the government to seize user data on demand, all without meaningful procedural safeguards.

February 6, 2014 11:18 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia, Ukraine

Attacks on journalists persist amid protests in Ukraine

New York, February 5, 2014--At least two international journalists reported being abducted and beaten while covering protests in Ukraine on Friday, according to news reports. The attack comes as two local press freedom groups each reported that more than 100 journalists have been attacked or briefly detained since the nationwide protests began in late November.

Blog   |   Internet, Turkey

Turkish Internet bill would deepen press freedom crisis

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse demonstrators during a protest against Internet censorship in Istanbul on January 18, 2014. (Reuters)

The Turkish parliament is on the verge of voting on radical censorship measures that, if approved, would allow the government to block individual URLs without prior judicial review, mandate Internet data retention for periods of up to two years, and consolidate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into a single association, among other changes. If passed, the amendments to Turkey's already restrictive Internet law would compound a dismal record on press freedom in the country, which is the leading jailer of journalists worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the proposed amendments are causing outrage among free expression activists and journalists in Turkey and around the world.

February 3, 2014 5:01 PM ET

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Reports   |   Russia

Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics

In the run-up to the Sochi Winter Games, official repression and self-censorship have restricted news coverage of sensitive issues related to the Olympics, such as the exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, and forced evictions. The information vacuum comes amid a generally poor climate for press freedom across Russia. A CPJ special report by Elena Milashina and Nina Ognianova

A photographer walks outside a dome built for the Sochi Games. (Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski)

Blog   |   Russia

Journalists to be under digital surveillance at Sochi

Journalists will be central targets of the extensive surveillance program introduced by Russian authorities in Sochi in connection with the 2014 Winter Olympic Games that begin February 7.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists assaulted amid protests in Ukraine

New York, January 22, 2014--Dozens of journalists were attacked, and their equipment damaged, while reporting on anti-government protests that began over the weekend in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, according to local and international news reports. The protests come as the government has approved new legislation imposing restrictions on the media.

Statements   |   Russia

CPJ condemns ban of U.S. journalist from Russia

New York, January 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that veteran U.S. journalist David Satter has been banned from Russia for five years. Satter, adviser to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, told CPJ that the Russian foreign ministry told him to leave the country on December 4 and reapply for a Russian visa. But, he said, on December 25, the Russian embassy in Kiev rejected his visa application. The journalist is currently in London.

Statements   |   Sweden, Syria, Turkey

Three abducted journalists released in Syria

New York, January 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the news that three abducted journalists in Syria have been freed this week. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed today that freelance Swedish journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarstrom, both of whom were abducted in November, were released. On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkish intelligence services had helped secure the release of Milliyet photojournalist Bünyamin Aygün, who had been held for more than a month.

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