Europe & Central Asia

2012

Attacks on the Press   |   France

Attacks on the Press in 2011: France

France’s press freedom record continued a downward slide, in large part because authorities attempted to violate the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and interfere with editorial decisions. Most of the recent cases stemmed from the “Bettencourt affair,” the alleged illegal financing of the presidential party by the billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. In 2010, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office ordered the secret services to identify sources leaking information about the matter to the press. Journalists from major media outlets were targeted, and the secret services obtained phone records of a Le Monde journalist. In October, the director of domestic intelligence was charged with violating the secrecy of correspondence and confidentiality of sources. Press-government relations were further strained during the 18-month abduction of two France 3 journalists in Afghanistan, which ended in June. Élysée Palace and the army had criticized the “recklessness” of the reporters. In November, the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed and its website was hacked after the satirical weekly published a spoof edition “guest-edited” by Prophet Muhammad.

February 21, 2012 12:02 AM ET

Blog   |   Rwanda, Sweden

Rwandan exiled journalist comes out of hiding

Gasasira in exile. (Gasasira)

I must have received at least a dozen communications from worried friends and colleagues, asking the whereabouts of the chief editor of the highly critical Rwandan website, Umuvugizi. By mid-January, no one had heard from John Bosco Gasasira, nothing new had been published on Umuvugizi since January 11, and his cell phones were switched off. Last week, concerned colleagues wrote a public letter expressing concern over their missing colleague.

February 16, 2012 3:08 PM ET

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Letters   |   Kazakhstan

CPJ urges Kazakhstan to stop repressing media

Dear President Nazarbayev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the ongoing crackdown by Kazakhstan's security service, the KNB, against independent journalists. The imprisonment of Vzglyad editor Igor Vinyavsky and interrogations of independent reporters by KNB agents appear to be reprisals for critical reporting on government policies, including a December 2011 confrontation in which authorities killed civilians.

February 16, 2012 3:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Ekho Moskvy board shuffled ahead of Russian election

A poster depicts Vladimir Putin as the Grim Reaper on one of Ekho Moskvy's studio doors. (CPJ/Nina Ognianova)

The Russian blogosphere erupted with comments today following an announcement that the board of directors of the iconic radio station, Ekho Moskvy, will be changed. The timing of the development--weeks before presidential elections--and the potential consequences for Ekho's editorial policy threw listeners into a frenzy of worry and speculation.

Statements   |   France, Russia

Russia expels French journalist for interviewing opposition

New York, February 13, 2012--The expulsion of prominent French journalist and author Anne Nivat from Russia today, on alleged violation of her visa status, indicates an increasingly restrictive environment for journalists in the lead-up to Russia's presidential election, said the Committee to Protect Journalists.

February 13, 2012 9:31 AM ET

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Blog   |   Denmark, India

India: Let us in!

Tom Heinemann with his wife and camerawoman, Lotte la Cour (Paul Gomes)

In 2005, we deliberately violated the immigration laws of India. We broke the law by producing a documentary film even though we had entered the country on a tourist visa. We broke the law because we wanted to show that Scandinavian companies were in violation of many other laws in India.

February 10, 2012 11:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC journalist Solange Lusiku honored for fortitude

Solange Lusiku Nsimire is honored by the Université catholique de Louvain for her courage as a journalist and women's rights defender. (Anne-Marie Impe)

Seated near the fireplace in a historical home in Tournai, a medieval town 70 miles from Brussels and a stone's throw from the French border, while snow fell outside, Solange Lusiku Nsimire was enjoying not only the company of friends, but the chance to live for a few days without fearing suspicious noises in the garden or ominous knocks on the door.

February 8, 2012 3:42 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Iran, UK

Iran detains, harasses relatives of BBC Persian service staff

An Iranian hardline student protests against the BBC during a demonstration outside the British embassy in Tehran on August 14, 2011. (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

New York, February 3, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention and harassment in Iran of relatives of BBC Persian service staff who work outside the country, which is part of a sustained campaign to intimidate journalists into not reporting critically on Tehran's activities.

February 3, 2012 5:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet, UK, USA

Can selective blocking pre-empt wider censorship?

A screen shot showing part of a Twitter blog post in which the company announced it could now censor messages on a country-by-country basis. (AP/Twitter)

Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The company will inform users if any tweet they see has been obscured, and provide a record of all demands to remove content with the U.S.-based site chillingeffects.org.

February 3, 2012 5:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh authorities interrogate editor, raid newsroom

New York, February 2, 2012--The Kazakh security service, or KNB, must immediately cease intimidating Oksana Makushina, deputy editor of Golos Respubliki, and return reporting equipment confiscated today from the independent weekly, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

2012

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