The lower house, or the State Duma, passed the legal amendments on June 18. [See CPJ's June 6 letter.]
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about a series of government actions over the last several months that have further deteriorated Serbia's already poor press freedom conditions.
In particular, we are concerned about government officials' continued use of verbal threats, politicized lawsuits, and state censorship to harass journalists and silence news outlets because of reporting that criticizes government policies. What is even more disturbing is that in all of these instances you and other top Serbian leaders have failed to reprimand government officials for their behavior toward journalists, effectively sanctioning these press freedom abuses.
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is very concerned about a bill, titled "On Amendments and Addendums Brought into Certain Legislative Acts," currently under consideration in the Russian Parliament. The bill, which is scheduled for a second--and possibly final--reading in the lower house of the Duma on June 11, seeks to strengthen state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly protests the ongoing legal harassment of Hasan Ozgun, a journalist formerly working with the now defunct Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish daily.
Ozgun, who was released from prison on April 21 after serving more than nine years for being a member of a banned political organization, now faces trial on four counts of "insulting" state institutions--a crime under Article 159 of the Penal Code. The charges, which were brought in 2001, came in response to a petition that Ozgun wrote while in prison to the public prosecutor of Diyarbakir, a city in southwestern Turkey. In the petition, he requested a retrial of his 1994 case and accused Turkish authorities of human rights abuses.
New York, May 28, 2003—The Military Collegium of the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the June 2002 acquittal of six men accused of organizing the 1994 murder of Dmitry Kholodov, a popular journalist for the Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Moscow Circuit Military Court had "failed to take all available evidence into account" during the 18-month trial, which began in November 2000, according to the Interfax news agency.
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