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ARCHIVES: State Persecution

September 4, 2011

Azerbaijan: Nakhchivan authorities continue to harass IRFS correspondent

Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev, the correspondent of the Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety (IRFS) in Sharur, in the north of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, has been charged by the district prosecutor’s office with “diverting electricity” under article 189-1 of the criminal code. Sanan Pashayev, the official in charge of the investigation, made Mehdiyev signed an undertaking that he would not leave the Sharur district. The charge carries a maximum fine of 3,000 manat (2,600 euros), which... MORE
August 23, 2011

Tajikistan: BBC correspondent tells court he was tortured while detained

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reiterated its call to the judicial authorities to drop all charges against BBC correspondent Urinboy Usmonov, whose trial began on August 16 in the northern city of Khujand. “Usmonov’s claims of being tortured while in detention are shocking,” RSF said. “They must be the subject of a serious investigation and those responsible should be punished. Unfortunately this is just the latest in a long list of irregularities since his... MORE
August 8, 2011

Belarus: Heavy fines for two independent newspapers

Harassment of the independent newspapers Narodnaya Volya and Nasha Niva continues despite last month’s withdrawal of a legal bid to have them closed. They have each been fined 14 million roubles (2,000 euros) for the warnings they had received from the information ministry in recent months. Narodnaya Volya has said it intends to appeal. “Two weeks after giving the two newspapers encouraging signs, the authorities have put on a new show of force by imposing a fine that penalizes journalistic... MORE
August 2, 2011

Russia: Two seizures of newspaper issues by regional governments in past month

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has condemned last week’s seizure of all 40,000 copies of Izvestia Kaliningrada , a weekly published in Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad. It was the latest example of regional governors abusing their power to silence media that annoy them. “We are disturbed to see this form of censorship used more than once in a short space of time,” RSF said. “By confiscating newspaper issues, local authorities are deliberately suppressing... MORE
August 2, 2011

Sri Lanka: President personally phones newspaper’s chairman to threaten him

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a threat in a phone call to the chairman of The Sunday Leader , Lal Wickrematunge, on July 19 because of an article reporting that China had given the president and his son, parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, money to be used “at their discretion.” “We are extremely shocked that the president personally phones journalists in order to threaten them.” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “It is unacceptable that The Sunday... MORE
July 26, 2011

Ethiopia: Two journalists freed on bail, two others in separate case remain in detention

Haileyesus Worku, the editor of the state-owned Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), and one of his reporters, Abdulsemed Mohammed, were finally released on bail of 5,000 birr (205 euros) on July 22 after being held for 15 months on charges of illegally selling state-owned news content for personal gain, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF). The court has scheduled a hearing for 12 November to hear defence arguments. The two journalists are... MORE
July 22, 2011

Malawi: Journalists beaten and detained to prevent them covering protests

At least seven journalists covering protests that took place in several cities during the past two days have been attacked by the police in Malawi. Some of the journalists were briefly detained. The government expressly banned radio stations from covering the demonstrations, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported. “We are very disturbed by the particularly brutal reaction of the authorities to demonstrators and to the journalists who went to cover their... MORE
July 22, 2011

China: Were business newspaper’s investigative reporters fired or given other jobs?

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has condemned the closure of the investigations unit at the daily China Economic Times at the behest of the newspaper’s management on July 18 and is concerned about the fate of Wang Keqin, the respected journalist who had run the unit for years, and the five other people in his team. The unit’s closure, which defies all editorial logic, comes at a particularly repressive time for those who defend fundamental rights and for... MORE
July 20, 2011

Senegal: Walfadjri media group hounded as President Wade resists pressure to go

There has been a sharp decline in relations between the government and the media in Senegal amid a wave of protests against President Abdoulaye Wade, who announced on July 14 in Dakar that he planned to “keep hold of the helm come hell or high water.” Harassment of the Walfadjri media group has intensified in the past month or so. Four journalists with the daily Walfadjri l’Aurore were summoned to the Department of Criminal Investigations (DIC) on July 13 over a long article critical of the... MORE
July 20, 2011

Police attack journalists during Tunis demonstrations

While hailing Tunisia’s progress in respect for civil liberties, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) is disturbed by the violence that the security forces deliberately used against journalists during a demonstration in central Tunis on July 15 and by the fact that the Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi held the media partly responsible July 18 for the current social and political unrest. When around 100 people tried to demonstrate outside the Kasbah Palace in Tunis on... MORE