Europe & Central Asia


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

Alerts   |   Serbia

Prosecutor in journalist's murder case suspended

New York, March 26, 2003—Sinisa Simic, the public prosecutor responsible for the stalled investigation into the April 1999 assassination of Dnevni Telegraf editor-in-chief Slavko Curuvija, has been temporarily suspended of his duties, according to local press reports.

Serbia's acting president Natasa Micic ordered the suspension on Friday, March 21, amid a government crackdown on judges and prosecutors with suspected links to members of the powerful Zemun mafia clan that allegedly orchestrated the March 12 assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
March 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Belarus

Court grants parole to imprisoned journalist

New York, March 24, 2003—A Zhlobin district court in eastern Belarus granted parole on Friday, March 21, to Paval Mazheika, a journalist with the independent newspaper Pahonya. The journalist was released immediately and traveled to his home in Hrodna, in the western part of the country.

Mazheika, who had served half of his one-year prison sentence in a corrective facility in the city of Zhlobin, was granted parole on good behavior. If he receives two parole violations, the journalist can be sent back to prison.
March 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Letters   |   Serbia

CPJ concerned by media restrictions

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about your government's enforcement of media restrictions under a state of emergency that has been in effect since the March 12 assassination of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic. Natasa Micic, president of the Serbian National Assembly and currently acting president...

March 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Alerts   |   Georgia

Through “60 Minutes” the Criminal Underworld Has Started a War Against the Judicial System

Through “60 Minutes” the Criminal Underworld Has Started a War Against the Judicial System

Tbilisi-based state-owned daily newspaper
Sakartvelos Respublika (The Republic Of Georgia)
Number 63, Monday, March 10, 2003

The broadcasting company "Rustavi 2" recently started a new campaign of defamation and disinformation against the judiciary system. Systematic and unfounded accusations against the judicial system have taken a form of vivid blackmailing and pressure on the courts. These broadcasts shielded with the principles of the freedom of speech have become a tool of fulfilling ambitions and interests in the hands of specific persons. Moreover, each segment of the program, each comment and each analysis is derived of qualified, professional and legal assessment. Speculations and legal expertise of "law specialists" who are unknown to the public and do not even correspond to the level of a beginner in the field.

March 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET


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