CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Nina Ognianova

Nina Ognianova is coordinator of CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia Program. A native of Bulgaria, Ognianova has carried out numerous fact-finding and advocacy missions across the region. Her commentaries on press freedom have appeared in the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, the Huffington Post, and the EU Observer, among others. Follow her on Twitter @Kremlinologist1

Blog   |   Montenegro

CPJ joins call for Montenegro to free imprisoned journalist Jovo Martinović

Freelance journalist Jovo Martinović has been in pretrial detention for 11 months. (Martinovic family)

The Committee to Protect Journalists, along with the Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders, today wrote a joint letter to Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović protesting the 11-month pretrial detention of freelance journalist Jovo Martinović, who has been accused of participating in a drug trafficking ring--an accusation he has denied and which the prosecution has failed to substantiate with evidence.

September 19, 2016 11:51 AM ET

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Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

CPJ joins call for Kyrgyzstan to release jailed journalist Azimjon Askarov

On July 11, the Kyrgyzstan Supreme Court will hear a petition for the release of Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights defender who is serving a life sentence in prison. This week, CPJ and Human Rights Watch jointly called on Kyrgyzstan authorities to fully abide by an April 21 ruling by the U.N. Human Rights Committee that Askarov, a recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, be freed without delay.

July 8, 2016 10:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey responds to CPJ letter on Zaman takeover, denying move is politically motivated

When riot police stormed the Istanbul offices of Turkey's largest newspaper, the daily Zaman, on March 4 following a court-ordered takeover, the Committee to Protect Journalists sent a public letter to Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, expressing dismay at the government's actions and calling on him to uphold press freedom in Turkey.

Blog   |   Turkey

'Erdoğan is killing journalism,' says Today's Zaman editor forced out after takeover

A copy of Zaman, with a headline that reads 'Suspended, the constitution,' is held up the day after the daily was taken over by court-appointed trustees. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Since the Turkish daily Zaman and its English-language sister publication Today's Zaman were taken over by court-appointed trustees last month, over accusations of terrorist propaganda, the papers' journalists have witnessed riot police fill their newsrooms, the arrests of colleagues, and the loss, through resignations and dismissals, of fellow journalists.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

International coalition marks anniversary of crackdown on rights in Azerbaijan

A year after the Azerbaijani government launched an unprecedented crackdown on human rights including press freedom, the situation in the country continues to deteriorate, the Sports for Rights coalition said today. The coalition of international organizations, including CPJ, released a statement today to mark the anniversary of what is widely described as the worst government campaign against critics that Baku has ever carried out.

Blog   |   Turkey

Erdoğan vs the press: Insult law used to silence president's critics

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, left, looks at a cell phone during a meeting in 2013. Since Erdoğan became president there has been an increase in insult charges filed against Turkey's press. (AP/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known for being intolerant of critics. During his third term as prime minister, Turkey was the leading jailer of journalists in the world with more than 60 behind bars at the height of the crackdown in 2012. Most of those have been released, but the press faces another threat--Article 299 of the penal code, "Insulting the President," which carries a prison term of more than four years if content deemed to be offensive is published in the press.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Baku 2015: Press freedom, Azerbaijan, and the European Games

Azerbaijani singer Faig Agayev, left, and wrestler Farid Mansurov take part in the Baku Games torch relay on June 9. Azerbaijan has cracked down on the press in the lead up to the first European Games. (AFP/Tofik Babayev)

Tomorrow 50 countries are due to take part in the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku, but Azerbaijan's most prominent journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, will not be at the celebrations. The award-winning investigative reporter has been in jail since December on retaliatory charges over her writing on corruption.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Ireland

CPJ, HRW call on president of European Olympic Committees to engage with Azerbaijan on press freedom, human rights

A delegation of representatives from CPJ and Human Rights Watch met yesterday with Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees, at the Dublin headquarters of the Olympic Council of Ireland. The delegation discussed the dismal state of press freedom and human rights in Azerbaijan, the host of the first-ever European Games in June and one of the 10 Most Censored Countries in the world.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

International coalition calls on European Court to prioritize Azerbaijani press cases

Azerbaijan, one of the 10 Most Censored Countries in the world, according to new research by the Committee to Protect Journalists, is to host the first-ever European Games this June. As Baku prepares to bask in the spotlight by hosting an international mega-event yet again, eight of the country's independent journalists, including award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, languish in jail in retaliation for their work. Azerbaijan's most prominent media freedom defender, Emin Huseynov, has taken refuge at the Swiss embassy to avoid politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment; dozens of human rights defenders and civil activists have been jailed or forced into exile; and the work of multiple independent nongovernmental organizations and media outlets has been paralyzed or shuttered by authorities that have zero tolerance for criticism or dissent.

Blog   |   Hungary

In Hungary, an independent website defies censorship and pressure

Tamás Bodoky, editor-in-chief of Atlatszo, which advocates for information access. (AFP/Peter Kohalmi)

A delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists, led by board member Kati Marton, traveled to Hungary in October on CPJ's first fact-finding and advocacy mission to an EU member state. We went there in response to concerning reports of deteriorating conditions for the press, and met dozens of journalists, media lawyers, managers, rights defenders, and policy analysts. Those we spoke to described an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship, and how critical reporting and alternative views are suppressed through a variety of means, including legal and economic measures that stifle and discourage independent coverage.

But there were signs of hope. Enterprising journalists are defying authorities' attempts to interfere with editorial policies and silence sensitive stories. The editorial team of one such news website, Atlatszo--the name means "transparent"--specializes in investigative journalism and advocating for information access. In Budapest, CPJ visited Atlatszo's offices, housed in an old department store.

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