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Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani authorities tighten screws on independent media

A man uses his laptop in a Baku street. Azerbaijan has extended its press freedom crackdown to include bloggers and social media users. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

When officials in Baku released several high-profile journalists, including investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, from prison in May last year, the international media rights community breathed a sigh of relief. But any optimism was short-lived, with authorities in recent months prosecuting journalists and bloggers, and passing restrictive online media laws.

January 20, 2017 2:07 PM ET

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of January 15

A phone showing a Twitter error message in 2014. A member of Turkey's opposition party claims police are monitoring social media users as part of a planned crackdown. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic)

Newspaper distributor says security officers abducted, beat him
Barış Boyraz, a former distributor for the shuttered Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, told the daily newspaper Evrensel that men he believes to be plainclothes police on December 17, 2016, abducted him from the streets of Ankara and beat him.

Blog   |   UK

UK's Section 40 press law would curb independent, investigative journalism

Labour MP Chris Bryant holds copies of the Leveson Report into press ethics in 2012, which led to the creation of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. A consultation on enacting the restrictive legislation, which came about as a result of the inquiry, ends January 10. (AFP/Justin Tallis)

British journalists say the future of independent and investigative journalism in the U.K. is at stake, as a deadline for public consultation on press regulation ends tomorrow. If it is implemented, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would leave news outlets not signed up to an official press regulator liable for the legal costs of both sides in any libel or privacy court case--even if the outlet won.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of January 8

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks in Istanbul, December 20, 2016. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Erdoğan praises Trump for 'beating down' CNN reporter
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for "beating down" ("benzetmek") CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Costa in a January 11 press conference, according to media reports and video widely distributed on the internet. Trump refused to take a question from CNN at the press conference, calling the broadcaster "fake news."

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of January 1

Broken glass scatters across the inside of a café close to the Izmir courthouse targeted in a bombing. News outlets have been ordered to report only official statements about the attack. (STR/AFP)

Jailed investigative journalist held in isolation

Investigative journalist Ahmet Şık has been kept in isolation in prison and denied basic rights since his arrest last week, according to reports that cited his lawyer. Sık, who was detained December 29 on allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda, was kept at Metris Prison in Istanbul for three days before being transferred to Silivri Prison, according to reports.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of December 25, continued

Investigative reporter arrested on propaganda charges

The prominent investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was arrested yesterday on allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda. Şık, who was detained in relation to his published writings and posts on social media, was also accused of "publicly humiliating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs; military and police organizations," Cumhuriyet reported. Prosecutors questioned Şık over his tweets, three published articles, a public statement, and an interview, according to Hürriyet.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of December 25

Turkey's deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, pictured in January 2016, said at a news conference this week that the media should be careful while covering sensitive issues. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Investigative reporter arrested on propaganda charges

The prominent investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was arrested yesterday on allegations of spreading terrorist propaganda. Şık, who was detained in relation to his published writings and posts on social media, was also accused of "publicly humiliating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs; military and police organizations," Cumhuriyet reported. Prosecutors questioned Şık over his tweets, three published articles, a public statement, and an interview, according to Hürriyet.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of December 18

People use an internet cafe in Ankara, April 16, 2015. Turkish authorities have censored social media and news websites, and have sought to block access to tools for circumventing that censorship. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Court confiscates assets of 54 journalists
Istanbul's 11th Court of Penal Peace court confiscated the assets of 54 journalists, media workers, and writers, saying there was a "strong suspicion" that they were followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym), the news website Bianet reported today.

Blog   |   Syria, Turkey

How CPJ researches the killing and jailing of journalists

Who is a journalist? In the era of citizen journalism, activist journalism and now "fake" journalism, the question is not academic.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has just published its annual census of journalists in prison and next week it will release its survey of killed journalists.

December 15, 2016 2:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, France, Haiti, Hungary, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey

Press freedom on OGP agenda as authoritarianism rises

President François Hollande speaks at the opening of the Open Government Partnership summit in Paris in December, where press freedom was added to the agenda. (Jacky Naegelen/Pool/AFP)

There was poignancy to the Paris summit of the Open Government Partnership, as leaders from government and civil society took the stage to defend a political ideology under siege: liberal democracy. French President François Hollande, who amid weak public support announced he will not seek re-election in 2017, called democracy "so fragile and so precious." His words came at a time when France's far right is gaining momentum.

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