Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

UN reviews Kyrgyzstan's human rights, free press record

Today, the U.N. Human Rights Committee begins its two-day review of Kyrgyzstan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By ratifying the treaty in October 1994, Kyrgyz authorities pledged to enforce internationally recognized provisions regarding the protection of human rights, and freedom of expression, in their country.

But CPJ research shows that Kyrgyzstan has consistently violated ICCPR provisions. Attacks against reporters; impunity in journalist murders, including of journalist Alisher Saipov; blocking of the news website Ferghana News; the politicized prosecution of ethnic Uzbek media owners, including Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Mezon TV and Khalil Khudaiberdiyev of Osh TV; and the ongoing imprisonment of investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov have marred the climate of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan.

Blog   |   Russia

Anniversaries of Russian journalist murders pile up

(Clockwise from top right: AFP, AP, AP, Facebook)

Last week, I was preparing to write a column about the anniversary of Paul Klebnikov's murder. The American editor of Forbes-Russia was murdered contract-style nine years ago in Moscow at the age of 41. He had investigated connections between Russian business and organized crime, as well as ethnic and political tensions in Chechnya. Despite numerous official promises to solve the July 9, 2004, killing, Klebnikov's murderers--as well whoever ordered him killed-- are still nowhere near the dock.

Blog   |   Russia

Vladimir Putin denies repressing media, critics

Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following a live nationwide broadcast phone-in, in Moscow Thursday. (Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti)

In the year since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency, independent media, civil society groups, and opposition activists have been under attack. But as he has done in the past, Putin recently asserted that his government is not engaged in political repression.

April 26, 2013 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz official urged to address Askarov case

Kyrgyzstan has endured a turbulent past and continues to face significant challenges, but its leaders are committed to a democratic future, Djoomart Otorbayev, the nation's deputy prime minister, told human rights and press freedom advocates in New York this week. The country still grapples with the repercussions of the brutal June 2010 ethnic conflict that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Journalist Azimjon Askarov remains in prison on charges that CPJ and numerous human rights groups have determined to be in retaliation for his work in uncovering official abuses during the unrest.

April 24, 2013 2:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus

Archaic court ruling in Belarus as photo book banned

The cover of the Belarus Press Photo Album. (AP)

Thursday's court ruling in the western Grodno region of Belarus is not befitting a modern European country, where servants of justice--prosecutors and judges--are expected to ensure protection for press freedom and human rights. Instead, it is reminiscent of medieval Europe, where dissent was declared heresy and ordered destroyed.

The Oshmyansky District Court ruled that the 2011 edition of the Belarus Press Photo album contained extremist materials that "deliberately contort" social, economic, and political life in the country. Belarus Press Photo is an independent press photography contest that aims to support, promote, and develop local photojournalism, according to its mission statement.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Access restored, but ban on Fergahana News remains

On Wednesday, more than a year after being blocked in Kyrgyzstan by government order, Ferghana News was again accessible to the public without the aid of proxy servers. Most local Internet providers, including the state-owned Kyrgyz Telecom, restored access to the website, Daniil Kislov, Ferghana's editor, told CPJ.

April 11, 2013 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Beketov's untimely death, and Putin's unfulfilled promise

Mikhail Beketov's recovery, in photos by CPJ and news agencies.

Mikhail Beketov, the former crusading editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda in the Moscow suburb, Khimki, died this afternoon at a Moscow hospital. A choking episode during lunch led to heart failure, Elena Kostyuchenko, Beketov's friend and a reporter for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told CPJ by phone from Moscow. Really, though, Beketov's life was taken by the thugs who smashed his skull, broke his legs, pulverized his hands, and left him to die in the freezing cold nearly five years ago. He defied them, surviving that November 2008 night and valiantly rallying in the ensuing years, but the once robust and fearless editor was never the same.

Blog   |   Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan, speculation swirls as Karimov out of sight

In the most tightly controlled countries, the media is told what they are allowed to report on and what topics are taboo. Anything related to the leader's health or his family is generally in the latter category. The resulting information vacuum can lead to rumors and uncertainty.

March 26, 2013 6:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Press freedom groups denounce repression in Azerbaijan

In a joint statement today, leading international press freedom and human rights groups, including CPJ, condemned the ongoing repression of journalists and rights activists in Azerbaijan and urged authorities to address the issue immediately.

Blog   |   Kazakhstan

Under official pressure, Kazakh broadcaster closes

In this YouTube screenshot, supporters of independent media demonstrate at the press conference where owners of Stan.kz announced its shutdown. (YouTube/Respublika Kz)

A blocked website; reporting equipment confiscated; a newsroom sealed; and reporters denied information from state agencies: these things together spelled the end of Stan.kz, a local, independent Internet-based broadcaster which for two years had tirelessly reported on developments in Kazakhstan. "We are forced to shut down the Stan.kz newsroom," Bauyrzhan Musirov, owner of parent Stan Production Company, said at a press conference Wednesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan's main city. 

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