Europe & Central Asia / 2003

Court declares missing journalist dead

December 2, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, December 2, 2003—Last week, a district court in the Belarus' capital, Minsk, declared journalist Dmitry Zavadsky officially dead. Zavadsky, a 29-year-old cameraman for the Russian public television network ORT, disappeared in July 2000. According to local press reports, the cameraman's widow, Svetlana Zavadskaya, initiated the judicial process...

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Court releases imprisoned journalist

November 13, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, November 13, 2003—The Chelyabinsk Regional Court today amended the sentence of imprisoned journalist German Galkin from one year in jail to one year of probation, according to local press reports. Authorities immediately released Galkin from prison in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk. Galkin, publisher of Rabochaya Gazeta and...

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Supreme Court upholdsacquittal of journalists on state secrets charge

November 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, November 10, 2003—Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the acquittal last week of two journalists from the Perm-based independent newspaper Zvezda who were charged with revealing state secrets. Yuri Shmidt, the journalists’ lawyer, said that the district court’s ruling was so strongly supportive of the journalists that it would have...

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Constitutional Court abolishes part of restrictive election law

October 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 30, 2003—Russia’s Constitutional Court today struck down part of a law that sought to strengthen state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly coverage of election campaigns. According to local and international press reports, the court ruled that a sub-section of Article 48 of the law “On Fundamental...

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CPJ concerned about investigation into journalist's murder

October 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply concerned about the investigation into the October 9 murder of Aleksei Sidorov, editor-in-chief of the independent daily Tolyattinskoye Obozreniye. We believe that investigators have prematurely determined that the crime was unrelated to Sidorov's journalistic work.

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Police crackdown on media amid presidential elections

October 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 17, 2003—Police and security forces attacked and wounded dozens of journalists covering two opposition rallies held in the Azerbaijan's capital, Baku. According to local and international press reports, the Musavat Party organized several rallies to protest the outcome of presidential elections held on Wednesday, October 15....

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Ataques y amenazas contra medios y periodistas, mientras la crisis política se intensifica

October 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Nueva York, 17 de octubre del 2003--El Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, por sus siglas en inglés) está sumamente alarmado por los ataques y amenazas contra medios de prensa y periodistas esta semana durante las masivas protestas antigubernamentales que amenazan con derrocar al gobierno boliviano. El miércoles...

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF INDEPENDENT DAILY MURDERED

October 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 10, 2003—Aleksei Sidorov, the editor-in-chief of the independent daily Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye, was murdered yesterday in Togliatti, a city situated on the Volga River 600 miles (960 kilometers) east of Moscow. Sidorov is the second editor-in-chief of Tolyatinskoye Obozreniye to be murdered in the last 18 months. His...

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Two journalists die in car accident while on assignment

October 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 7, 2003—CPJ mourns the loss of a television crew and their driver from the national state broadcaster Channel One, who died in a car accident in the Siberian region of Tyumen while on assignment. Channel One journalist Natalia Astafyeva, cameraman Sergei Isakov, and driver Yuri Selyanov died...

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Federal court upholds journalist's conviction

October 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 7, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disappointed that the Kalininsky District Court, in the city of Chelyabinsk, today upheld journalist German Galkin's conviction on criminal defamation charges and sentence of one year in a labor camp. On August 15, Galkin was convicted of criminal...

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Court issues mixed decision on pro-independence Chechen Web site

October 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, October 1, 2003—The Second District Court in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius yesterday ruled that the State Security Department overstepped its authority when it shuttered the pro-independence Chechen Web site KavkazCenter on June 20. The State Security Department disconnected and confiscated KavkazCenter's server at the private Vilnius-based Internet...

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Constitutional Court to examine restrictive media and election laws

September 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 26, 2003—The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has decided to hold a hearing on October 13 examining the constitutionality of legal amendments that recently strengthened state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns. The independent Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy and the...

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Court rejects imprisoned journalist's appeal

September 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 26, 2003—At a closed hearing yesterday, the City Court in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, rejected an appeal by jailed journalist and human rights activist Ruslan Sharipov to have his conviction and prison sentence overturned, according to local and international press reports. Instead, the court dropped one of the...

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Journalists Killed in Russia 2000-2003

September 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Vladimir Yatsina, ITAR-TASS, February 20, 2000, Chechnya Yatsina, a photographer with the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, was killed in Chechnya by Chechen militants who had taken him hostage. Two former hostages, Alisher Orazaliyev from Kazakhstan, and Kirill Perchenko from Moscow, reported the killing in statements recorded by Amnesty International after...

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Investigators search office of news Web site

September 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 24, 2003—Investigators from the Moscow Prosecutor General's Office searched the office of the Moscow-based independent news Web site Grani.ru on Friday, September 19. Investigators said they wanted an original copy of an anonymous e-mail that Grani.ru had received on August 18 containing a video recording of two...

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Authorities detain and expel film crew

September 18, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 18, 2003—Lithuanian border guards detained and expelled a film crew from the independent, Moscow-based national television station NTV on Sunday, September 14, after they filmed a protest on a train near the Lithuanian-Russian border. According to Russian and Lithuanian press reports, NTV journalist Vadim Fefilov, cameraman Vladimir...

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Journalist convicted of criminal defamation up for appeal

September 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is extremely concerned that German Galkin, publisher of Rabochaya Gazeta and deputy chief editor of Vecherny Chelyabinsk, both opposition newspapers, was convicted on criminal defamation charges. We are writing ahead of his appeal hearing, scheduled for tomorrow, to urge you to take measures to ensure that Russian journalists are not prosecuted under outdated press laws.

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CPJ calls for release of imprisoned journalist

September 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is extremely concerned about the conviction, imprisonment, and torture of journalist and human rights activist Ruslan Sharipov. The Tashkent City Court is planning to hear an appeal in the case on September 23, and we call on you to see that he is released immediately.

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CPJ marks third anniversary of journalist's disappearance

September 16, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 16, 2003—Three years after the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is dismayed by the lack of progress in the government's inquiry into this case. "President Leonid Kuchma's government continues to obstruct the official inquiry," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper....

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Police officers assault journalists

September 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 11, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is outraged by a police attack earlier this week on a group of independent and opposition journalists outside the police headquarters in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku. The attack occurred after 4 p.m. on Monday, September 8, in front of the headquarters...

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Imprisoned journalist reports being tortured

September 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 11, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has learned that Ruslan Sharipov, a jailed Uzbek journalist and human rights activist, issued a statement from prison on September 5 reporting that he pled guilty to one charge in his August trial because authorities had forced him to do...

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Supreme Court rejects journalist's appeal to review conviction

September 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, September 5, 2003—Russia’s Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by Russian journalist Grigory Pasko challenging his December 2001 criminal conviction for treason. Ivan Pavlov, Pasko’s attorney, told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he received a letter on Thursday, September 4, from the Supreme Court’s...

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CPJ requests information on 29 murdered journalists

August 27, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Dear Mr. Imomov: Joel Simon, Josh Friedman, and I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you on July 21 to discuss the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) list of 29 journalists who were murdered during and after Tajikistan's civil war.

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CPJ concerned about criminal defamation and access to information

August 27, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Dear Mr. Ubaydulloyev: Joel Simon, Josh Friedman, and I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you on July 22 to discuss press freedom conditions in Tajikistan. We also appreciate your willingness to review a letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) outlining our specific concerns about the country's criminal defamation laws and problems regarding journalists' access to government information.

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CPJ sends letters to authorities Asks for details about 29 murdered journalists and outlines concerns about criminal defamation and access to information

August 27, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, August 27, 2003— Following a two-week mission to Tajikistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists sent letters today to Azizmat Imomov, Tajikistan’s deputy prosecutor general, and Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev, parliamentary chairman and mayor of the capital, Dushanbe. The letters were based on three-days of intensive meetings with government officials in...

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Journalist convicted and imprisoned on criminal defamation charges

August 20, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, August 20, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly condemns a district court's conviction of independent journalist German Galkin on criminal defamation charges in the southern city of Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural mountains. According to local and international press reports, on August 15, following a trial that was...

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CPJ believes journalist's imprisonment is politically motivated

August 19, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) believes that the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of journalist and human rights activist Ruslan Sharipov are part of a politically motivated campaign to suppress press freedom in Uzbekistan.

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Moscow court upholds denial of travel passport to Grigory Pasko

August 12, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, August 12, 2003—The Moscow City Court upheld an earlier July 24 district court ruling today denying a foreign passport to Russian journalist Grigory Pasko. Ivan Pavlov, Pasko's attorney, told CPJ in a telephone interview today that Pasko plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in...

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SUSPECTS CONVICTED OF MURDERING TWO JOURNALISTS DURING TAJIKISTAN'S CIVIL WAR

July 29, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 29, 2003—Tajikistan's Supreme Court today convicted two suspects in the murders of Muhiddin Olimpur, head of the BBC's Persian Service bureau, and Viktor Nikulin, a correspondent with the Russian television network ORT, both of whom were killed during the country's civil war in the mid-1990s. Narzibek Davlatov...

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Court rejects journalist's appeal for travel passport

July 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 24, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disappointed with today's ruling by Moscow's Lyublinsky District Court to uphold Moscow's Southeastern District Visa and Registration Authorities (OVIR) decision to deny a foreign passport to journalist Grigory Pasko. Pasko was convicted of treason and sentenced to four...

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CPJ DELEGATION CALLS FOR GREATER PRESS ACCESS AND AN END TO IMPUNITY IN TAJIKISTAN

July 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Dushanbe, July 24, 2003—A delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on the government of Tajikistan to combat the culture of fear and self-censorship lingering from its bloody 1992-1997 civil war by investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the murders of dozens of journalists during that period. The...

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Suspect convicted in television journalist's murder

July 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 11, 2003—A Georgian court sentenced former police officer Grigol Khurtsilava on Wednesday, July 9, to a 13-year prison term for the July 2001 murder of popular television journalist Georgy Sanaya. Sanaya anchored "Night Courier," a nightly political talk show on the independent television station Rustavi 2...

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Russian TV bureau and U.S.-funded media organizations closed

July 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 10, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent closure by the Belarusian authorities of Russian television network NTV's Belarus bureau, as well as the decision to cancel accreditation for the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and Internews, both U.S. government-funded organizations that provide support...

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Journalist Grigory Pasko denied travel passport

July 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 10, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is dismayed that Moscow's southeastern district visa and registration authorities (OVIR) have denied a foreign passport to journalist Grigory Pasko, who was released from prison in January after serving more than two years in prison. Pasko told CPJ in...

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Agence France-Presse reporter abducted

July 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 7, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is gravely concerned about the safety of Ali Astamirov, a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, who was abducted on Friday, July 4, by unknown armed assailants in Ingushetia, according to sources in Russia. Astamirov, who previously worked for...

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CPJ calls on Putin not to sign legislation

July 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is very concerned about a bill, titled "On Amendments and Addendums Brought into Certain Legislative Acts," that was passed by the lower and upper houses of Russia's parliament on June 18 and June 25, respectively. The bill, which seeks to strengthen state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns, currently awaits your approval.

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Diplomat convicted for conspiring to murder journalist

July 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, July 1, 2003--A Czech court yesterday convicted the former general secretary of the Foreign Ministry, Karel Srba, of plotting to murder Sabina Slonkova, an investigative reporter for the independent Prague daily Mlada Fronta Dnes. According to local and international press reports, a regional court in the southern city...

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Russian television journalist expelled

June 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, June 30, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent expulsion of Pavel Selin, a correspondent with the Russian television network NTV based in Belarus's capital, Minsk. On Saturday, June 28, Selin was summon to the Internal Affairs Ministry, where he was told to leave the country...

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Parliament approves restrictive legal amendments

June 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, June 26, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is disappointed that the upper house of Russia's Parliament, the Federation Council, approved a series of legal amendments on Wednesday, June 25, that could severely restrict the media's ability to report on the December 2003 parliamentary elections and the March...

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Media Ministry closes national TV channel

June 23, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, June 23, 2003—The Russian Media Ministry issued a decree on Saturday, June 21, pulling the independent national television channel TVS off the air at midnight, replacing it with Sport TV, a state-run sports channel. TVS, the only channel in Russia that has remained highly critical of the...

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Parliament passes restrictive legal amendments

June 20, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, June 20, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is disappointed that the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, passed a series of legal amendments on Wednesday, June 18, that would severely restrict the media's ability to report on the December 2003 parliamentary elections and the February...

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CPJ concerned about government harrassment of the press

June 12, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about a series of government actions over the last several months that have further deteriorated Serbia's already poor press freedom conditions.

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CPJ concerned about legislation

June 6, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Dear Mr. Chairman: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is very concerned about a bill, titled "On Amendments and Addendums Brought into Certain Legislative Acts," currently under consideration in the Russian Parliament. The bill, which is scheduled for a second--and possibly final--reading in the lower house of the Duma on June 11, seeks to strengthen state regulation over independent media outlets, particularly their coverage of election campaigns.

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CPJ protests continued harassment of journalist

June 6, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly protests the ongoing legal harassment of Hasan Ozgun, a journalist formerly working with the now defunct Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish daily.

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Politician allegedly attacks journalist during interview

June 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, June 5, 2003—According to 24-year-old free-lancer Vladimir Jesic, the mayor of the central city of Cacak attacked him during an interview on TV Apolo on Sunday, June 1, in the capital, Belgrade. Mayor Velimir Ilic, who also heads the New Serbia party, became angry when Jesic asked him...

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Information Ministry closes independent newspaper for three months

May 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 30, 2003—CPJ is disturbed that the independent, Minsk-based newspaper Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta was forced to cease publication for three months on order of Belarusian information minister Mikhail Podgayny. Minister Podgayny issued the order on Wednesday, May 28, and the papers closed yesterday. The Information Ministry had given...

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Information Ministry closes independent newspaper for three months

May 30, 2003 12:00 AM ET

New York, May 30, 2003--CPJ is disturbed that the independent, Minsk-based newspaper Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta was forced to cease publication for three months on order of Belarusian information minister Mikhail Podgayny. Minister Podgayny issued the order on Wednesday, May 28, and the papers closed yesterday. The Information Ministry had given...

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Supreme Court orders retrial of defendants previously acquitted of journalist’s murder

May 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 28, 2003—The Military Collegium of the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the June 2002 acquittal of six men accused of organizing the 1994 murder of Dmitry Kholodov, a popular journalist for the Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. The Supreme Court ruled that the Moscow Circuit Military Court had "failed...

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Independent journalists convicted for libeling president's brother

May 22, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 22, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned by the Tuesday, May 20, conviction of two journalists from the opposition weekly newspaper Mukhalifet on charges of criminally libeling the brother of President Heydar Aliyev. On May 20, the Yasamal District Court in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, found...

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Local television journalist violently attacked

May 19, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 19, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns today’s violent attack against Aleksandr Stetsun, a journalist with Ural Television Agency (TAU), an independent station in the city of Ekaterinburg, 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) east of the capital, Moscow, in the Ural Mountains. The attack occurred this morning...

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Popular radio station raided by police Journalists arrested

May 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 7, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday’s police raid on the popular opposition radio station Krasnaya Armiya in the city of Noyabrsk, in Russia’s central Ural Region. The station was attacked after the City Election Committee annulled the results of Sunday, May 4, mayoral elections...

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Local prosecutor in Gongadze case convicted and amnestied

May 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 7, 2003—The Shevchenko District Court in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, yesterday convicted and then amnestied Serhy Obozov, the former prosecutor of Tarashcha District, for obstructing the criminal inquiry into the September 2000 disappearance and murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze, according to local and international press reports. Obozov,...

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Opposition newspaper attacked

May 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 5, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday’s attack on the offices on Yeni Musavat, a popular opposition daily in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. On the evening of Sunday, May 4, a group of nearly 30 men attacked the newspaper’s offices, destroying furniture, windows, and telephone equipment....

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Four journalists die in helicopter crash

May 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 5, 2003—CPJ mourns the death of four journalists killed on Saturday, May 3, when a large firefighting helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the Chita Region, some 3,000 miles east of the capital, Moscow, according to local and international press reports. Seven crewmen and a...

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Kremlin presses Estonia to shut down Chechen Web site

May 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, May 1, 2003—Russian government officials have been pressing Estonian authorities to shut down the pro-independence Chechen Web site KavkazCenter (www.kavkazcenter.com) for more than a week, according to local and international press reports. Sergei Yastrezhembsky, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin, warned last week that, “Countries which aspire to...

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Local journalist violently attacked

April 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, April 30, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday’s violent attack against Mger Galechian, a journalist with the opposition newspaper Chorrord Ishkhanutyun, which is based in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. According to Armenian and Russian news reports, two men came to the newspaper’s offices on the afternoon of...

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Head of Russian television station shot dead

April 18, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, April 18, 2003—Russian journalist Dmitry Shvets, head of the independent television station TV-21 Northwestern Broadcasting in the northern Russian city of Murmansk, was shot dead today outside of the station’s offices. The motive is unclear. Police have launched an investigation, but no details were available. CPJ will continue...

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Popular radio station attacked

April 14, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, April 14, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has recently learned about an attack on Dzveli Kalaki, a popular independent radio station in Kutaisi, a city in eastern Georgia. On the evening of March 28, four ax-wielding men charged to the roof of the building where Dzveli Kalaki's...

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Anti-Terrorist Convention

April 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Anti-Terrorist Convention Source: Interfax news agency For purposes of supplying society with authentic information, the mass media have the right and duty of contributing to the open discussion of the problem of terrorism, informing society on the progress of counter-terrorist operations, carrying out investigations, and providing people with information...

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National media outlets agree to curb reporting on terrorism

April 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, April 11, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about the “Anti-Terrorist Convention,” which was signed on Tuesday, April 8, by directors of several leading national broadcast media outlets, who agreed to accept voluntary restrictions on their coverage of terrorism and anti-terrorist government operations. The media executives...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Preface

March 31, 2003 12:10 PM ET

Many reporters find themselves in a dilemma when the press comes under attack. Our pride, our institutional and tribal loyalties, all clamor for a retort. We may be the bearers of bad tidings, but we are not their cause. If the truth is inimical to you, we want to argue,...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Middle East and North Africa Analysis

March 31, 2003 12:10 PM ET

The Arab world continues to lag behind the rest of the globe in civil and political rights, including press freedom. Despotic regimes of varying political shades regularly limit news that they think will undermine their power. Hopes that a new generation of leaders would tolerate criticism in the press have...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Albania

March 31, 2003 12:10 PM ET

Despite some modest media-related reforms implemented by Parliament in 2002, Albania's contentious political scene and economic underdevelopment continue to make the country a relatively chaotic and difficult place for the independent press. Journalists face government harassment, criminal libel lawsuits, arbitrary dismissal by politicized owners, and limited access to basic government...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Armenia

March 31, 2003 12:10 PM ET

In the run-up to presidential elections scheduled for 2003, President Robert Kocharian, who is seeking another term, muzzled dissenting voices in the press and called for more compliant media coverage of government policies. As a result, journalists continued to face criminal prosecution, attacks, and censorship. Meanwhile, poor economic conditions drove...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Azerbaijan

March 31, 2003 12:10 PM ET

Despite proclaiming a commitment to democracy and offering some financial aid to the beleaguered press, President Heydar Aliyev's relationship with the media remained tense in the run-up to presidential elections scheduled for October 2003. During 2002, independent and opposition outlets struggled to overcome official harassment and economic hardship, while the...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Belarus

March 31, 2003 12:09 PM ET

In May 2002, CPJ named Belarus one of the world's 10 worst places to be a journalist, highlighting the stifling repression of Europe's most authoritarian regime. The rest of the year brought more bad news for the country's besieged but strong-willed private media, with President Aleksandr Lukashenko tightening his grip...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Bosnia and Herzegovina

March 31, 2003 12:09 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Bulgaria

March 31, 2003 12:09 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Croatia

March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Cyprus

March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Czech Republic

March 31, 2003 12:08 PM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Georgia

March 31, 2003 12:07 PM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: The Hague

March 31, 2003 12:06 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Hungary

March 31, 2003 12:06 PM ET

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

March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET

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,...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Ivory Coast

March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Kazakhstan

March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET

Press freedom conditions deteriorated significantly ýn Kazakhstan during 2002. Direct criticism of the president, his family, and his associates is considered seditious, and the government's growing persecution of the media has increased self-censorship. Furthermore, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has consolidated his control over the airwaves and newsstands ahead of parliamentary and...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Kyrgystan

March 31, 2003 12:05 PM ET

Emboldened by the growing number of U.S. troops in the country, President Askar Akayev has used the threat of international terrorism as an excuse to curb political dissent and suppress the independent and opposition media in Kyrgyzstan. Compliant courts often issue exorbitant damage awards in politically motivated libel suits, driving...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Macedonia

March 31, 2003 12:04 PM ET

Lingering political instability, pervasive official corruption, and interethnic tension kept Macedonia on edge in 2002. Sporadic clashes between the Macedonian government and ethnic Albanian rebels continued despite a peace accord signed in August 2001 to end the country's short-lived civil war, which began in January 2001. As a result, independent...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Moldova

March 31, 2003 12:04 PM ET

Political instability and social unrest plagued Moldova in 2002, with disenfranchised groups struggling against the country's authoritarian president, Vladimir Voronin, and his ruling Communist Party. The country's small and beleaguered nonstate media suffered from the feeble economy and official harassment, while state print and broadcast media endured heavy-handed censorship....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Romania

March 31, 2003 12:03 PM ET

Government officials, wary of any media coverage that could potentially threaten the country's efforts to join NATO and the European Union, used threats and intimidation to promote docile reporting--resulting in increased self-censorship in 2002....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Russia

March 31, 2003 12:02 PM ET

Russian president Vladimir Putin, along with his coterie of conservative former intelligence officials, pressed ahead in 2002 to impose his vision of a "dictatorship of the law" in Russia to create a "managed democracy." Putin's goal of an obedient and patriotic press meant that the Kremlin continued using various branches...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Slovakia

March 31, 2003 12:02 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Slovenia

March 31, 2003 12:02 PM ET

Press freedom is generally respected in Slovenia, but journalists investigating sensitive issues continue to face occasional intimidation or pressure in retaliation for their coverage....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Tajikistan

March 31, 2003 12:01 PM ET

The devastating legacy of the civil war (1992-1997) between President Imomali Rakhmonov's government and various opposition parties for control over the country continued to haunt the Tajik media in 2002. Because of widespread poverty--a result of the war and a subsequent string of natural disasters--reporters often work in run-down offices...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Turkey

March 31, 2003 12:01 PM ET

In November, the Islamist-oriented Justice and Development Party won parliamentary elections in Turkey. The new prime minister, Abdullah Gul, and influential party head Recep Tayyip Erdogan affirmed that joining the European Union would be a top government priority. To that end, they promised greater democratic reform, including an easing of...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Turkmenistan

March 31, 2003 12:01 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Ukraine

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: United Arab Emirates

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: United Kingdom

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: United States

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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....

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Uzbekistan

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Attacks on the Press 2002: Yugoslavia

March 31, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Court convicts suspects in firebombing of opposition weekly

March 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Body of missing journalist found

March 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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,...

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Intelligence official confirms Iraqi threat against RFE/RL

March 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Prosecutor in journalist's murder case suspended

March 26, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Court grants parole to imprisoned journalist

March 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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CPJ concerned by media restrictions

March 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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

March 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET

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...

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Supreme Court threatens independent TV station for exposing corruption

March 21, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 21, 2003— The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned that the Georgian Supreme Court has published a statement requesting that the prosecutor general conduct a criminal inquiry into "60 Minutes," a biweekly investigative news program on the independent, Tbilisi-based television station Rustavi 2 in retaliation for...

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Local television journalist brutally attacked

March 19, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 19, 2003- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday's violent attack on Olga Kobzeva, a journalist with GTRK Don-TR television, a local branch of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. According to Russian sources, an unknown assailant...

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Local journalist violently attacked

March 17, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 17, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the violent attack against Aleksandr Krutov, a journalist with the independent weekly newspaper Bogatei in the city of Saratov, in southern Russia. According to Russian news reports, three unknown assailants attacked the journalist on the evening of Thursday, March...

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Government imposes media restrictions following premier's assassination

March 13, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 13, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned that under the state of emergency declared in Serbia on Wednesday, March 12, following the assassination that day of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic, restrictions have been placed on the media. Natasa Micic, president of the Serbian National...

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Court upholds journalist's prison sentence

March 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 11, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is disappointed that today's decision by Kazakhstan's Almaty Regional Court in the city of Taldykorgan, north of Almaty, upheld the prison sentence of prominent independent journalist Sergei Duvanov. On January 28, Almaty's Karasaisky District Court sentenced Duvanov to three-and-a-half years...

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Editor threatened for reporting on allegations against bishop

March 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned about threats made against Vukasin Obradovic, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Vranje-based weekly Novine Vranjske, and Goran Antic, a reporter with the publication, in retaliation for reporting allegations of sexual abuse made against Serbian Orthodox Bishop Pahomije. The bishop's...

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TWO RADIO JOURNALISTS ATTACKED AS POLICE WATCH

March 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 10, 2003—Two Uzbek journalists working for U.S. government­funded radio stations were attacked by a group of men on Friday, March 7, while trying to cover an anti-government protest in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent. According to local and international press reports, Khusnutddin Kutbiddinov, of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL),...

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Court amends imprisoned journalist's sentence

March 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 7, 2003—A Belarusian court ruled on Tuesday, March 4, that jailed journalist Mikola Markevich, editor-in-chief of the independent weekly newspaper Pahonya, could serve the remainder of his sentence in his hometown of Hrodna, in western Belarus. Markevich will be allowed to reside with his family, but he...

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Police arrest suspects in television chief's murder

March 6, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 6, 2003—Armenian police yesterday arrested six suspects in the December 2002 murder of Tigran Nagdalian, the 36-year-old head of the state-owned Armenian Public Television. The police continue to look for other individuals linked to the crime. Law enforcement authorities have not released the suspects' names or details...

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CPJ concerned about government’s attempts to control coverage of conflict in Chechnya

March 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is extremely concerned about an official warning issued by the Russian Media Ministry on Wednesday, February 26, to the Moscow-based communist, ultra-nationalist weekly Zavtra. This warning, which followed the publication of an interview with exiled Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, is the...

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Suspect charged with threatening journalist is cleared

March 5, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 5, 2003—A suspect accused of issuing death threats against Anna Politkovskaya, a correspondent with the Moscow-based twice weekly newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was cleared of the criminal charge against him yesterday. Politkovskaya is well known in Russia for her investigative reports on human rights abuses committed by the...

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PUBLISHER'S CAR IS BOMBED Attack linked to reporting on mafia

March 3, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 3, 2003—A bomb destroyed the vehicle of Nino Pavic, an influential independent newspaper publisher, on the morning of Saturday, March 1, in Croatia's capital, Zagreb. According to local and international press reports, the 50-year-old publisher and his family were sleeping in their home in the affluent suburb...

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Chechen journalist beaten and detained by Interior Ministry troops

February 28, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, February 28, 2003—Zamid Ayubov, a 40-year-old Chechen journalist for the local pro-Russian administration's thrice-weekly Vozrozhdeniye Chechni, was beaten and detained by Interior Ministry forces in the Chechen capitol of Grozny on the evening of February 16. Ayubov was assaulted when he approached an Interior Ministry unit and identified...

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CPJ concerned about journalist facing criminal prosecution

February 27, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply concerned about two libel lawsuits that have been filed by a senior government official against Elmar Huseynov, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Baku-based, independent magazine Monitor. These lawsuits are the latest actions in a 7-year-old campaign of official harassment...

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Basque daily closed over alleged ETA links

February 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET

February 23, 2003—Euskaldunon Egunkaria, a Basque daily based in the northern Spanish town of Andaoin, was closed by government authorities on Thursday, February 20, because of alleged links to the armed separatist group ETA. The paper reappeared on newsstands the next day under the new name Egunkaria. Hundreds of Civil...

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CPJ concerned about alleged death threat against editor

February 19, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, February 19, 2003—Vira Kytaihorodska, editor-in-chief of the twice-weekly newspaper Bukovynske Viche in the western city of Chernivtsi, said that a local government official has threatened to kill her for republishing an article on February 7 that accused Chernivtsi regional governor Teofil Bauer of corruption and violating customs regulations....

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PUBLISHER'S CAR IS BOMBEDAttack linked to reporting on mafia

February 3, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, March 3, 2003—A bomb destroyed the vehicle of Nino Pavic, an influential independent newspaper publisher, on the morning of Saturday, March 1, in Croatia's capital, Zagreb. According to local and international press reports, the 50-year-old publisher and his family were sleeping in their home in the affluent suburb...

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Independent journalist sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison

January 30, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, January 30, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is disappointed by the prison term handed down on January 28 to prominent independent journalist Sergei Duvanov by the Karasaisky District Court in the southern city of Almaty. The court sentenced Duvanov to three-and-a-half years in prison for allegedly raping...

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CPJ welcomes Grigory Pasko's release

January 23, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, January 23, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes today's decision by a court in the city of Ussuriisk, in the Russian Far East, to grant parole to military journalist Grigory Pasko. The journalist was released immediately and traveled to his home in Vladivostok. Under Russian law, Pasko,...

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Lowest number on record; Russia, Colombia, and the West Bank top list

January 2, 2003 12:00 PM ET

New York, January 2, 2003—A total of 19 journalists were killed worldwide for their work in 2002, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This number marks a sharp decrease from 2001 when 37 journalists were killed, eight of them while covering the war in Afghanistan. Of the 19...

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