Europe & Central Asia

In Crimea, independent press under threat

Press freedom in Crimea is deteriorating as the region's media fall under Russian laws and regulations. A CPJ fact-finding mission to Ukraine in June finds many independent journalists are fleeing Crimea because of arrests, attacks, and harassment. Broadcasters, including Crimean Tatar outlet ATR, pictured, are denied registration and journalists say they struggle to get accreditation.

StoryMap: Attacks on Crimea's press
Guest blog: Patriotism with Cold War tinge
Доклад на русском языке

(AFP/Max Vetrov)

Statements   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani prosecutor requests nine-year jail term for Khadija Ismayilova

New York, August 21, 2015--A state prosecutor today called for Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova to be sentenced to nine years in prison, according to pro-government news agency Trend. The request was made during a hearing in the Baku Court of Serious Crimes that was closed to independent journalists and rights activists, the regional press reported. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the trial and calls on Azerbaijan to drop all charges against Ismayilova.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, independent journalist dies after being beaten in Baku

New York, August 10, 2015--An independent reporter in Azerbaijan died early Sunday after being beaten viciously the day before in Baku, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Azerbaijan to conduct an efficient and transparent investigation into the attack on Rasim Aliyev, determine the motive, and ensure all of the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Blog   |   Germany, Internet

Germany scores against the surveillance state

It all went very fast. On Tuesday morning August 4, Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Harald Range, was ordered by Justice Minister Heiko Maas to withdraw an independent expert from the investigation of two journalists from Netzpolitik. The investigator had concluded that leaked documents quoted by the news website amounted to a disclosure of a state secret, one of the required criteria to pursue a treason case. The prosecutor protested: “To meddle with an internal review on the basis that the results might be inopportune is an intolerable interference with the independence of the judiciary .” A few hours later on Tuesday evening Maas asked for the prosecutor to be granted early retirement. In plain words, Harald Range was sacked.

Statements   |   Azerbaijan

Baku court bars press and family from Khadija Ismayilova trial

New York, August 7, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to ensure due process in the trial against award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova. When Ismayilova appeared at Baku Court on Grave Crimes for the first substantive hearing in her case today, journalists, international observers, and the reporter's family were barred from entering the courtroom, according to press reports.

Statements   |   Germany, Internet

Germany investigating news website, journalists for treason

New York, July 31, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by the allegations of treason against two journalists affiliated with the critical German news website Netzpolitik. German authorities on Thursday opened an investigation into the website's bloggers, Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, as well as an unidentified third party, accusing them of treason, according to news reports. In February and April, Netzpolitik had reported on plans to expand Germany's domestic surveillance of online communications, news reports said.

July 31, 2015 2:33 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkmenistan

Freelance reporter arrested in Turkmenistan

New York, July 30, 2015--Authorities in Turkmenistan should release Saparmamed Nepeskuliyev, a freelance journalist who has been in police custody since July 7 on bogus charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

International coalition marks anniversary of crackdown on rights in Azerbaijan

A year after the Azerbaijani government launched an unprecedented crackdown on human rights including press freedom, the situation in the country continues to deteriorate, the Sports for Rights coalition said today. The coalition of international organizations, including CPJ, released a statement today to mark the anniversary of what is widely described as the worst government campaign against critics that Baku has ever carried out.

July 30, 2015 2:29 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkey

Turkish authorities block access to news websites

New York, July 28, 2015--Turkish authorities blocked access to at least eight news websites in Turkey on Saturday amid what the government called a counter-terrorism operation, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish authorities to restore access to the websites so that Turkish citizens can access news of public interest.

Blog   |   Hungary

New hurdles for Hungary's press as Orbán restricts FOI requests

Viktor Orbán at a European Parliament debate about Hungary in May. His government has brought in a law that will make it harder for journalists and others to make Freedom of Information Act requests. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

"This is the best thing that has ever happened in Hungary." Katalin Erdélyi, a freedom of information activist, was referring to a ground-breaking website launched in Hungary in 2012. "I was glad because I realized the potential and how it will help me get all the information I longed for," she told me. The website, KiMitTud (WhoKnowsWhat, in English) is a simple online tool that helps average citizens file information requests to public bodies, and to view and comment on other people's requests. "I alone filed around 500 requests since the launch," Erdélyi said.

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