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.
New York, July 28, 2015--Turkish authorities blocked access to at least eight news websites in Turkey on Saturday amid what the government called a counter-terrorism operation, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish authorities to restore access to the websites so that Turkish citizens can access news of public interest.
"This is the best thing that has ever happened in Hungary." Katalin Erdélyi, a freedom of information activist, was referring to a ground-breaking website launched in Hungary in 2012. "I was glad because I realized the potential and how it will help me get all the information I longed for," she told me. The website, KiMitTud (WhoKnowsWhat, in English) is a simple online tool that helps average citizens file information requests to public bodies, and to view and comment on other people's requests. "I alone filed around 500 requests since the launch," Erdélyi said.
New York, July 24, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the sentencing to life in prison today of a Russian nationalist leader in connection with the 2009 fatal attack on human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, in which Novaya Gazeta journalist Anastasiya Baburova was also killed. The Moscow City Court ruled that Ilya Goryachev, a leader of the extremist Battle Organization of Russian Nationalists, was the mastermind behind the murder, according to news reports. The verdict was issued on July 15 while the court announced the sentence today.
New York, July 23, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who has been imprisoned since December on charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, and abuse of power, among others. Ismayilova's trial is scheduled to be held on Friday in Baku, according to news reports. If convicted, she faces up to 19 years in prison. CPJ and other international press freedom groups believe the charges against Ismayilova are in retaliation for her coverage of corruption in the Azerbaijani government.
Beirut, July 21, 2015--At least four international journalists have been reported missing in northern Syria in two separate incidents in the past month, in the latest indication of the profound dangers of reporting from inside the war-torn country.
"First they asked if my parents had any guns or drugs in the apartment, then they showed my picture to my mother and asked her to identify me," Anna Andriyevskaya said. The Crimean journalist, who is living in exile in Kiev, was describing a raid on her parents' home by Russian FSB agents. "Any other mother would have probably suffered a heart attack if police asked them to ID their children," she said.
"You should move to Kiev," I was trying to persuade a friend of mine to leave Crimea.
I first met him at the time when cassettes were used in voice recorders, there were no e-mail addresses on business cards, and people preferred to make acquaintances in bars, not online. He asked me not to make his name public, but all you need to know about him is that he is 30, lives in Crimea, and is an objective journalist. Lately, there has been a shortage of objectivity in the Crimean media.
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.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.