Europe & Central Asia


Attacks on the Press   |   Kazakhstan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Kazakhstan


President Nursultan Nazarbayev ignored Western criticism in 2004 as he consolidated his control over the independent and opposition media to ensure his success in September's parliamentary elections and the upcoming 2006 presidential vote.
March 14, 2005 11:26 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Kyrgyzstan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Kyrgyzstan


As the 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections approached, President Askar Akayev and his allies used restrictive laws and politicized government agencies to crack down on opposition voices and the country's few remaining independent media outlets.
March 14, 2005 11:25 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Moldova

Attacks on the Press 2004: Moldova


Thirteen years after declaring independence from the Soviet Union, Moldova is plagued by a corrupt communist government, a stagnant economy, and an ongoing civil conflict with the breakaway Trans-Dniester Region. Corruption is widespread in a society where criminal groups have fused with the government and business. Independent and opposition media struggle to survive amid a general state of lawlessness and poverty that has forced many to align themselves with political parties to survive. The government continues to use politicized agencies to control the press.
March 14, 2005 11:22 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   China, Germany, South Korea

Attacks on the Press 2004: North Korea

North Korea

While foreign analysts kept guessing at the state of nuclear development in North Korea, one thing remained certain in 2004: There is no free press in the country, only government outlets that voice the pronouncements of Kim Jong Il's authoritarian regime.
March 14, 2005 11:18 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Romania

Attacks on the Press 2004: Romania


In its annual assessment of Romania's democratic reforms, the European Commission criticized the government's press freedom record. Authorities' use of lucrative advertising contracts and forgiveness of debts to the state to influence television news coverage, as well as provincial politicians' acquisition of media outlets to promote their political and business interests, continued to erode media freedom, the report noted. The negative assessment could undermine Romania's efforts to secure EU and NATO membership in 2007.
March 14, 2005 11:14 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Russia


A midyear purge of independent voices on state television and an alarming suppression of news coverage during the Beslan hostage crisis marked a year in which Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly exerted Soviet-style control over the media. Using intelligence agents and an array of politicized state agencies, Putin pushed for an obedient and patriotic press in keeping with his ever tightening grip on Russia's deteriorating democracy.

Attacks on the Press   |   Serbia

Attacks on the Press 2004: Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia and Montenegro

Political paralysis consumed Serbia for much of 2004. Conservative reformists and ultranationalists argued over the bloody legacy of former President Slobodan Milosevic and refused to extradite Serbs indicted for war crimes to The Hague–based U.N. -tribunal. Amid a chaotic and polarized atmosphere, journalists were vulnerable to -intimidation from politicians, government agencies, businessmen, accused war criminals, and organized crime.
March 14, 2005 11:11 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Tajikistan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Tajikistan


President Imomali Rakhmonov consolidated his authoritarian rule in 2004, arresting political opponents and cracking down on opposition newspapers. Authorities employed bureaucratic and legal harassment in a broad campaign to silence criticism of the president and his allies ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for February 2005.
March 14, 2005 11:09 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press 2004: Turkey


The European Union's long-awaited decision in December to begin formal talks to admit Turkey would have been impossible without legislative reforms made in recent years, including several aimed at expanding freedom of expression.

A new Penal Code set to take effect in 2005 codifies a number of recent press reforms. Notably, it limits the definition of "inciting hatred" to cases in which the exercise of free expression poses a "clear and present danger." Prison penalties for "insulting" state institutions were reduced, and the law now requires proof of intent for conviction. A new press law adopted in June abolishes authorities' power to suspend publications, lifts prison penalties for certain press offenses, and strengthens protection for confidential sources.
March 14, 2005 11:05 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Turkmenistan

Attacks on the Press 2004: Turkmenistan


Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's self-proclaimed president for life, continued on the path of international isolation and ironfisted dictatorial rule. State control over the country's abundant natural gas reserves provided Niyazov with the financial independence to ignore international opinion, repress dissident voices, and intensify his cult of personality. In 2004, the government particularly targeted the U.S. government–funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)—one of the country's few independent-minded sources of domestic news—by harassing and detaining its reporters.
March 14, 2005 11:04 AM ET


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