Europe & Central Asia


Alerts   |   Hungary

Fundamental changes still needed in Hungary media law

Hungarians protest the country's new media law outside parliament. (Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

New York, March 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Hungarian and European Union authorities to continue to modify a restrictive media law that parliament amended on Monday to comply with demands made by the European Commission--the institution mandated with monitoring the implementation of EU directives. Experts scrutinizing the law's modifications say the changes fall short of Hungary's press freedom commitments as an EU, Council of Europe, and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe member. 

Alerts   |   Ukraine

CPJ alarmed by manipulation of Gongadze investigation

New York, March 2, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the recent actions of Ukrainian authorities that threaten to upend progress in the 10-year-old investigation into the September 2000 abduction and murder of independent journalist Georgy Gongadze, at left. The Kyiv Court of Appeals ruled today to reject a second appeal by Myroslava Gongadze, the journalist's widow, against the prosecutorial downgrading of the status of the murder from a contract killing to a "killing on verbal command."
March 2, 2011 4:41 PM ET


Alerts   |   Panama, Spain

Critical Spanish journalists expelled from Panama

New York, March 2, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Panamanian government to allow two Spanish journalists and human rights activists who were expelled to return to the country. The journalists were covering and documenting an indigenous demonstration on Saturday when they were detained by authorities and accused of "disrupting public order" according to an official statement

Letters   |   Ukraine

CPJ concerned by irregularities in Ukraine's Gongadze case

Dear President Yanukovych: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by reports of irregularities in the decade-long investigation into the 2000 kidnapping and murder of Internet journalist Georgy Gongadze. Particularly, CPJ is disturbed by efforts to derail progress in the investigation and peg the ultimate responsibility for the murder on a dead suspect, while other leads in the case languish. Since assuming office in March, you have publicly stated your commitment to press freedom in Ukraine. The case of Georgy Gongadze is a litmus test for you and your administration, and we urge you to ensure that none of the perpetrators of his kidnapping and killing are allowed to walk free.

March 1, 2011 4:29 PM ET


Alerts   |   Russia

European Commission must press Russia on impunity

Barroso and Putin address reporters in Moscow in February 2009. (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov)

New York, February 23, 2011--In advance of key meetings on Thursday between the European Commission and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to address Russia's record of rampant impunity in resolving the killings of journalists. 

February 23, 2011 10:44 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Europe and Central Asia Analysis

On the Runet, Old-School Repression Meets New

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched a blog but the Kremlin promised to tightly control who can comment on it. (Reuters)

By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Armenia

Top Developments
• New broadcast law gives regulators broad powers to revoke TV licenses.
• Gala TV, a rare critical broadcaster, faces array of government pressures.

Key Statistic
1: Number of digital television licenses the government will grant per region. The plan will cut diversity.

As his government strengthened ties with Russia, President Serzh Sargsyan had to quell lingering domestic discontent over electoral fraud and economic woes, particularly in the construction and mining industries. New legislation granted regulators broad new powers to award and revoke licenses, while putting severe limits on the number of provincial broadcast licenses. Self-censorship remained widespread in the media, as lawlessness curbed the activities of journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition leaders.

February 15, 2011 12:47 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Azerbaijan

Top Developments
• European Court orders release of Eynulla Fatullayev; government still jails editor.
• News sites report periodic blocking, typically when sensitive stories are posted.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists interrogated by security agents after running a statement from the jailed Fatullayev

The authoritarian government of President Ilham Aliyev relied on imprisonments and an atmosphere of impunity to suppress independent journalism. Aliyev, who essentially inherited the presidency of the strategic Caspian Sea nation from his father, used the country's vast oil and gas resources to play off the competing interests of traditional partners Russia and Turkey with those of newer allies such as the European Union and the United States.

February 15, 2011 12:46 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press 2010: Belarus

Top Developments
• Authorities wage post-election crackdown, raiding newsrooms and jailing reporters.
• New Internet law requires registration of sites, tracking of user activity.

Key Statistic
20: Journalists detained as government silences coverage of election protests.

In a massive post-election crackdown, authorities raided news outlets and detained at least 20 journalists covering protests over a flawed December 19 presidential vote that delivered a new term to incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenko. Leading journalists such as Natalya Radina, editor of the pro-opposition news website Charter 97, and Irina Khalip, correspondent for the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta, were among those being held in late year. Security agents stormed newsrooms of major outlets, including Radio for Belarus and the satellite television channel Belsat. Observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe criticized the government for secretive vote-counting practices and suppression of news media.

February 15, 2011 12:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kazakhstan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Kazakhstan

Top Developments
• New laws restrict online news media, shield government officials from scrutiny.
• OSCE chairman Kazakhstan undermines organization with repression at home.

Key Statistic
44 Defamation complaints filed in first six months of 2010, many of them by government officials.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev's government failed to deliver the press freedom reforms it had promised in exchange for gaining 2010 chairmanship of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE. Not only did the government renege on explicit pledges to decriminalize libel and bring press laws in line with international standards, it enacted a restrictive new measure governing Internet content and a sweeping privacy law that shielded government officials from public scrutiny.

February 15, 2011 12:28 AM ET


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