Europe & Central Asia


Alerts   |   Belarus

Belarus adopts restrictive media law amendments, blocks websites

New York, December 23, 2014--The Belarusian parliament adopted amendments to a restrictive media law last week, and President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed them on December 20, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the broad and vaguely worded provisions of the law, which extend restrictions on the traditional press to the online media. The amendments will be implemented on January 1.

December 23, 2014 2:51 PM ET


Alerts   |   Turkey

Turkish authorities target media in nationwide crackdown

New York, December 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's raids on media outlets in which police detained journalists and media workers on politicized anti-state charges. Among those detained today were Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of Zaman, one of Turkey's largest dailies, and Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcast Group, reports said.

Alerts   |   Belarus

Belarusian journalist held by the KGB on espionage charges

New York, December 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the immediate release of journalist Aleksandr Alesin, who according to news reports is being held by the Belarusian national security service, known as the KGB.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova jailed in Azerbaijan

Khadija Ismayilova, who has been jailed for two months pending trial, speaks here at the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards hosted by the International Women's Media Foundation. (AP/Invision/Todd Williamson)

New York, December 5, 2014--An Azerbaijani court in Baku today ordered the imprisonment of award-winning investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova for two months pending trial after a local man accused her of urging him to commit suicide, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ruling and calls on authorities in Azerbaijan to stop their prosecution of Ismayilova, who also faces charges of libel in a separate case.

"We call on Azerbaijani authorities to stop gagging reporters through trumped-up charges and arrests, and immediately release Khadija Ismayilova," said Muzaffar Suleymanov, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia research associate. "The politicized nature of the arrest is obvious--an award-winning reporter is being harassed for her work in Azerbaijan."

Letters   |   Belgium

CPJ calls on Belgium to defend press freedom at Committee of Ministers

CPJ calls on Didier Reynders, Belgium's foreign minister, to use his country's presidency at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe--the largest pan-European human rights watchdog--to defend press freedom in Europe, and address violations by members states. CPJ's letter highlights press freedom abuses in Azerbaijan, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan pressures press freedom advocate's family, raids apartment

New York, November 6, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harassment by Azerbaijani officials of the family of Gulnara Akhundova, a regional expert with the Denmark-based press freedom group International Media Support (IMS). Akhundova's 67-year-old mother was interrogated on Wednesday by prosecutors in Baku who raided her apartment the same day, according to local press reports.

November 6, 2014 4:01 PM 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.

Press Releases

Governments fall short in efforts to combat impunity in journalists' murders

Ninety percent of murderers walk free, threatening press freedom, CPJ report finds

New York, October 28, 2014--Despite increased international attention to the murder of journalists, governments have failed to take meaningful action to reduce the high rates of targeted violence and impunity, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a new report released today.

October 28, 2014 12:01 AM ET

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.

Press Releases   |   Hungary

Hungarian journalists work in climate of self-censorship, fear

Budapest, October 17, 2014--On a rare mission to a European Union country, a CPJ delegation led by board member Kati Marton was in Hungary this week to meet with journalists, media lawyers, managers, rights defenders, policy analysts, and government officials to discuss Hungary's press freedom record.

October 17, 2014 5:38 PM ET


Press Releases   |   Turkey

Turkey's leaders defend press freedom record but agree to address delegation's concerns

Ankara, October 3, 2014--In unprecedented meetings with a joint delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute, senior Turkish government officials defended their country's press freedom record while agreeing to take steps to improve conditions for journalists. The meetings, which included President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, took place as the parliament voted to authorize military action in Syria.

October 3, 2014 12:00 AM ET

Press Releases   |   Iran, Mexico, Myanmar, Russia, South Africa, USA

2014 International Press Freedom Awards

Honoring courage and perseverance

Awardees from Burma, Iran, Russia, and South Africa

New York, September 30, 2014--Four journalists from Burma, Iran, Russia, and South Africa will be honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2014 International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous reporting. These journalists have faced imprisonment, violence, and censorship.

September 30, 2014 1:22 PM ET

Media Advisories   |   Turkey

International press freedom delegation to visit Turkey

CPJ and IPI to meet with local journalists, media experts, and government officials

New York, September 25, 2014 -- A joint delegation of representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute will be in Istanbul and Ankara from September 29 to October 2 to meet with local journalists, media experts, and government officials to discuss issues concerning press freedom. The delegation will be available for interviews. After meeting with Turkish government officials in Ankara on Thursday, October 2, the delegation will release statements.

September 25, 2014 12:30 PM ET

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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


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


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


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


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


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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Press Releases

Iran, Syria, and Somalia top countries that journalists flee

CPJ releases annual report on journalists in exile to mark World Refugee Day

New York, June 18, 2014--Over the past five years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has supported 404 journalists who have been forced to flee their home countries because of their work, according to a new CPJ report on exiled journalists. Journalists cite the threats of violence and imprisonment as the top reasons why they flee.

June 18, 2014 12:20 PM ET

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


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.

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

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


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


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

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.

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


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. 

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. 

Media Advisories

Journalist murders silence the press

CPJ to launch 2014 Impunity Index

New York, April 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists will release its 2014 Impunity Index, a global tally of countries with the highest number of unsolved press murders. The index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population, shows that authorities are often unwilling or unable to pursue justice in journalist killings. Since 1992, more than 600 journalists have been murdered with impunity, a disturbing trend that sends a chilling message to those reporting uncomfortable truths.

April 9, 2014 1:56 PM ET

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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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


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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Attacks on the Press Press Releases

Attacks on the Press: Surveillance poses global challenge for free flow of news

CPJ's annual assessment of press freedom worldwide

New York, February 12, 2014--Digital surveillance, the unchecked murder of journalists, and indirect commercial and political pressures on the media are three of the primary threats to press freedom highlighted in the Committee to Protect Journalists annual assessment, Attacks on the Press, released today.

February 12, 2014 2:22 AM ET

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

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.

Attacks on the Press Press Releases   |   Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, Liberia, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Zambia

Press freedom deteriorates in Cyberspace, Egypt, Russia

Risk List underlines mass surveillance, fatalities, and censorship

New York, February 6, 2014--Mass surveillance programs by the U.S. and U.K., as well as restrictive Internet legislation by various governments and a wave of cyberattacks globally, are among the disturbing developments that have landed cyberspace on the Committee to Protect Journalists' Risk List, released today.

February 6, 2014 4:48 PM ET

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


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.

Press Releases   |   Russia

Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics

CPJ report looks at restrictions on news coverage in run-up to Winter Games

New York, January 28, 2014--Obstruction by Russian authorities and journalists' self-censorship in a repressive climate have restricted news coverage of sensitive issues related to the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report released today.

January 27, 2014 5:02 PM ET

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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