Europe & Central Asia



Attacks on the Press 2002: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina's lively media reported on numerous corruption and political scandals in 2002, from bomb threats against the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sarajevo, to the government's involvement in weapons sales to Iraq. The astonishing number of scandals reflected fragile government institutions and the existence of two ministates within the country: Republika Srpska and the Federation. Rampant lawlessness fostered widespread fraud, human trafficking, and drug smuggling. It also kept journalists there vulnerable to a broad array of harassment and abuses, including threatening phone calls and letters, politically motivated tax inspections, retaliatory lawsuits, and physical assaults.
March 31, 2003 12:09 PM ET


Attacks on the Press 2002: Bulgaria

During 2002, Bulgaria was invited to join NATO in 2004, but the European Union (EU) postponed Bulgaria's admission until 2007 at the earliest. The EU's decision reflected concern about the country's economic underdevelopment, rampant corruption, weak judiciary, and politicized Prosecutor General's Office. Bulgarian journalists, meanwhile, spent much of 2002 covering local drug gangs and police attempts to control them. Bulgaria, geographically situated in the southeastern Balkans, is a major drug smuggling route into Europe.
March 31, 2003 12:09 PM ET



Attacks on the Press 2002: Croatia

The gradual stabilization of the western Balkans, combined with closer bilateral ties to neighboring Yugoslavia, encouraged some increased diversity in Croatia's media during 2002. On January 7, for example, national Croatian Radio Television (HRT) broadcast a Serbian Orthodox Christmas service for the first time since the country declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. In May, after an 11-year hiatus, Croatia's main newspaper distribution company, Tisak, began selling Serbian dailies and weeklies from Yugoslavia at newsstands again.
March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET



Attacks on the Press 2002: Cyprus

Some 35,000 Turkish troops are stationed in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), founded after Turkey invaded the northern half of the Mediterranean island in 1974. The island remains divided into a more prosperous ethnic Greek sector in the south and an isolated and impoverished ethnic Turkish sector in the north. Cyprus' capital, Nicosia, is also divided in two, with one side controlled by the internationally recognized Greek-Cypriot authorities and the other by the Turkish government.
March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET


Czech Republic

Attacks on the Press 2002: Czech Republic

Despite having joined NATO in 1999 and being a front-runner for European Union membership in 2004, many senior politicians in the Czech Republic remain hostile toward the country's feisty press and regularly obstruct critical media coverage of political scandals.
March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET



Attacks on the Press 2002: Georgia

While corruption and crime continued to overrun Georgia in 2002, some officials blamed the country's woes on excessive press freedom, even accusing the media of contributing to the February suicide of Security Council chief Nugzar Sadzhaya. Public figures readily chastised the press for exposing inadequacies in President Eduard Shevardnadze's government. Shevardnadze himself publicly lamented past attacks on journalists, but the perpetrators of these crimes, which included violent assaults and assassinations, were not brought to justice.
March 31, 2003 12:07 PM ET


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

Attacks on the Press 2002: The Hague

December 11

Jonathan C. Randal, The Washington Post

The U.N. International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague (ICTY) ruled to limit compelled testimony from war correspondents. The decision, announced at the tribunal's Appeals Chamber, came in response to the appeal by former Washington Post reporter Jonathan C. Randal, who had been subpoenaed to testify in the case of former Bosnian-Serb housing minister Radoslav Brdjanin, who is facing charges of genocide because of his alleged role in the persecution and expulsion of more than 100,000 non-Serbs during the Bosnian war. The subpoena against Randal was set aside, and he is no longer required to testify.
March 31, 2003 12:06 PM ET

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

Attacks on the Press 2002: Israel and the Occupied Territories (Including the Palestinian Authority Territories)

While the press is largely free within Israel proper, the country's military assault on the Occupied Territories fueled a sharp deterioration in press freedom in the West Bank and Gaza during much of 2002. Despite vocal international protest, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) committed an assortment of press freedom abuses, ranging from banning press access in the West Bank to opening fire on journalists covering events.
March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2002: Ivory Coast

Hopes were high in July that Ivory Coast's political crisis would end after a judge in the capital, Abidjan, confirmed that former prime minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara, the leader of the opposition Rally for Republicans (RDR), is an Ivory Coast citizen.
March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET


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