Europe & Central Asia


Letters   |   Russia

NGO bill is 'deeply troubling'

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a bill before you that seeks to dramatically expand state control over nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including those dedicated to promoting press freedom and supporting independent media. The bill emerges at a politically sensitive time, as the Kremlin prepares for the 2007 parliamentary election and the 2008 presidential election. The proposed restrictions appear to attack political pluralism and public dissent in Russia.

December 28, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Belarus

Law criminalizes criticism of the state and Lukashenko

New York, December 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores a new law that makes criticism of authoritarian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and his government punishable by up to five years in prison. Lukashenko secretly signed the amendments to the penal code on December 15. They were registered on December 20 and will become law at the end of the year, the Minsk-based human rights organization Charter 97 said in a statement.
December 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Court suspends opposition paper for insulting the president

New York, December 22, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists voiced outrage at the censorship of the Kazakh opposition newspaper Zhuma-Taims which has reported on vote rigging and corruption in the government of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Economic Court in Almaty suspended the paper's print-run in a December 20 ruling, according to the Kazakh International Bureau for Human Rights & Rule of Law (KIBHRRL). The newspaper was not notified of the hearing and was not represented in court.
December 22, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Albania

Bomb damages office of popular daily newspaper

New York, December 19, 2005—An explosion on Sunday evening damaged the Tirana headquarters of Shekulli, Albania's most popular independent daily, but staff members escaped injury, according to international press reports.

Editor-in-Chief Robert Rakipllari said 15 staff members were working when the bomb exploded outside the newspaper building, The Associated Press reported. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, nor had anyone made any recent threats against the newspaper. "I'm sure this was some type of warning, but I can't explain it," Rakipllari told the AP.
December 19, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Tajikistan

Jailed journalist finally freed after bureaucratic obstruction

New York, December 16, 2005—A Tajik journalist ordered released last month by the Supreme Court was finally freed today, a move welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Jumaboy Tolibov left a detention center in the town of Istarafshan in the northern region of Sogd, according to a local CPJ legal source and the National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (NANSMIT), a press freedom group based in the capital Dushanbe. Tolibov was jailed in April 2005 after criticizing a local prosecutor in three newspaper articles in 2004.
December 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Ukraine

As Gongadze proceedings start, CPJ says much work remains

New York, December 16, 2005—As court proceedings are about to begin against three defendants in the 2000 murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges Ukrainian authorities to identify and prosecute all those responsible for plotting the brutal slaying.

Preliminary hearings are set to begin on Monday in Kyiv against former police officers Valery Kostenko, Nikolai Protasov, and Aleksandr Popovych, according to international news reports. A fourth suspect, Gen. Aleksandr Pukach, former head of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, is being sought on an arrest warrant, the news agency Interfax reported.
December 16, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Belarus

Polish journalist deported

New York, December 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the deportation from Belarus of Polish television journalist Agnieszka Romaszewska. She was deported on Wednesday from Minsk airport. She was detained at the airport on Tuesday when she flew into the country. Romaszewska had been working for the past six months in Belarus as the correspondent of Polish public broadcaster Telewizja Polska, according to local and international press reports.
December 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalists face criminal prosecution

New York, December 14, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the recent prosecution of journalists under laws that criminalize comment about the Turkish state, its institutions, and history.

In the past three months, the authorities have used the catch-all provisions of Article 301 of the penal code to stifle writing about the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 90 years ago, and articles critical of the judiciary and the military. According to CPJ research at least eight journalists have been convicted of, or face criminal charges, under Article 301 despite official promises to end criminal prosecutions of journalists.
December 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Serbia

Serbian soldiers convicted in 1991 slaughter of civilians, journalists

New York, December 13, 2005—The War Crimes Chamber of the district court in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, convicted 14 former soldiers Monday on charges of torturing and executing Croatian civilians, including at least two journalists, in neighboring Croatia in 1991, according to international press reports.

The defendants were given prison sentences ranging from five to 20 years for the massacre of more than 200 prisoners of war at an abandoned farm outside the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar. Two other defendants were acquitted.

December 13, 2005 12:00 PM ET


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