Europe & Central Asia



Attacks on the Press 2002: Turkmenistan

The magnitude of President Saparmurat Niyazov's cult of personality might even astonish the Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin. A golden statue in Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, honors Niyazov, who is called "Turkmenbashi," or "the Father of All Turkmen," and his portrait graces the country's currency. In 2002, Niyazov's birthday was declared a national holiday, and he renamed the months of the year, dubbing January "Turkmenbashi" in his own honor.
March 31, 2003 12:01 PM ET


Attacks on the Press 2002: Ukraine

During 2002, President Leonid Kuchma's relationship with the United States hit an all-time low over suspicions that he sold a sophisticated radar system to Iraq. At home, his presidency was threatened by court rulings that opened a criminal case against him (and that were later overturned) for alleged involvement in the 2000 murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze. Increasingly isolated, Kuchma lashed out at critics in the press.

Attacks on the Press   |   Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2002: United Arab Emirates

In the autocratic city-states that comprise the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), local media face both the promise of new technology and the burdens of long-standing state restrictions.
March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia

Attacks on the Press 2002: United Kingdom

Press freedom is generally respected in the United Kingdom, but CPJ was alarmed by a legal case in which Interbrew, a Belgium-based brewing group, and the British Financial Services Authority (FSA), a banking and investment watchdog agency, demanded that several U.K. media outlets turn over documents that had been leaked to them. The case threatened to erode the media's ability to protect sources, and to deter whistle-blowers from talking with the press.
March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2002: United States

The U.S. government took aggressive measures in 2002 to shield some of its activities from press scrutiny. These steps not only reduced access for U.S. reporters but had a global ripple effect, with autocratic leaders citing U.S. government actions to justify repressive policies.
March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET



Attacks on the Press 2002: Uzbekistan

Increased international aid and the presence of U.S. troops who use Uzbekistan as a base for the "war on terror" inspired President Islam Karimov to pay lip service to press freedom. With much fanfare, Karimov's government ended prior censorship of newspapers--one of the few systems in the world that required papers to submit copy to censors in advance of publication. Yet the change was almost completely undermined when the government subsequently pressured editors to censor articles themselves. Some papers even hired the state's former censors to minimize the risk of publishing anything that might be deemed offensive.
March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET



Attacks on the Press 2002: Yugoslavia

During 2002, the intense political and personal rivalry between Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica, a conservative nationalist, and Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, a pragmatic reformist, consumed politics in Serbia, the dominant republic in the Yugoslav federation. The conflict, which stalled government reforms, was further complicated
by negotiations between the two Yugoslav republics of Serbia and Montenegro on transforming the Yugoslav federation into a union of two sovereign states. The possibility that the Yugoslav presidency would no longer exist forced Kostunica to run for the Serbian presidency in the fall against a Djindjic ally, Miroslav Labus. Voter apathy was so high that neither candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the electorate, leaving the presidency empty at year's end.
March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Court convicts suspects in firebombing of opposition weekly

New York, March 28, 2003—The Medeu district court in the southern Kazakh city of Almaty convicted two men this week of setting fire to an opposition newspaper's offices last May.

The court sentenced Meirbek Uristenbekov and Mukhitdin Abdualiyev to three years in prison and ordered them to pay a total of 952,000 tenge (US$6,270) in damages to Muratbek Ketebayev, the newspaper's publisher, and 46,000 tenge (US$303) in legal fees to the court.
March 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Romania

Body of missing journalist found

New York, March 28, 2003— The body of Iosif Costinas, a 62-year-old journalist for the independent daily Timisoara, was discovered last week by police in a forest in western Romania. Costinas disappeared in June 2002.

Police spokesman Cornel Iures said the journalist's remains were found near the village of Pischia, 16 miles northeast of the western Romanian city of Timisoara, where Costinas had lived and worked prior to his disappearance, The Associated Press reported.
March 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Czech Republic

Intelligence official confirms Iraqi threat against RFE/RL

New York, March 26, 2003--A senior Czech intelligence official alleged today that Iraqi agents planned to carry out an attack against the Prague-based headquarters of U.S. government­funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Jiri Ruzek, director of the State Security Service (BIS), told the Czech Service of the BBC in an interview today that the purpose of the attacks was to terminate the broadcasts of Radio Free Iraq, RFE/RL's Arabic-language service broadcasting news into Iraq.
March 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET


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