Sisi’s visit to Paris: RSF asks Macron to condemn rights violations in Egypt

first_img “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says Related documents 2017-10_lettre_conjointe_des_ongs_internationales_au_president_macron_-_egypte.pdfPDF – 140.92 KB Respect judicial independence in cases of two leading journalists in Serbia and Montenegro, RSF says Organisation Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia News As Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi begins an official visit to France, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and four other human rights organizations ask French President Emmanuel Macron to condemn the crackdown on civil society in Egypt and to press for democratic reforms. October 23, 2017 Sisi’s visit to Paris: RSF asks Macron to condemn rights violations in Egypt June 4, 2021 Find out more FranceEgyptEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa June 8, 2021 Find out more RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan Receive email alerts to go further News June 7, 2021 Find out more News News FranceEgyptEurope – Central AsiaMiddle East – North Africa 20 October 2017 Subject: President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s official visit to France Dear President Macron, In view of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s forthcoming official visit to France, EuroMed Rights, Coordination SUD, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) would like to draw your attention to the deplorable situation of civil society and human rights in Egypt. We are counting on you to remind President Sisi that France does not support Egypt’s repressive practices and believes that major reforms are needed to promote human rights, democracy and civil society. Human rights defenders, journalists and LGBT activists are constantly harassed and prosecuted for peacefully pursuing their activities. The most obvious example is Case No. 173 of 2011, which has already resulted in the conviction of 40 human rights defenders and employees of international NGOs. We urge you to ask your Egyptian counterpart to end the campaign to criminalize human rights defenders and stop prosecuting them for legitimate and peaceful activities. On 29 May, President Sisi approved a new law regulating the work of NGOs (NGO Law No. 70/2017), which makes it very complicated to create, operate and fund an NGO. The new law not only discourages non-profits but also provides grounds for closing many of them and could result in the disappearance of much of the NGO sector. We ask you to appeal to President Sisi to repeal this law and replace it by one that respects Egypt’s constitution and international standards on human rights and freedom of association. It is also crucial to reiterate the position that the European Union took at the EU-Egypt Association Council meeting of 25 July 2017, and the EU’s concern about the consequences of this law on NGO activity and the space for debate and discussion in Egypt. We ask you to urge your Egyptian counterpart to stop practices that violate Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law and Egypt’s 2014 constitution. Finally, we urge you to ensure respect for the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment and to apply the conclusions of the EU Council meeting of 21 August 2013. We therefore ask you to immediately suspend all exports of military and surveillance technology and equipment to Egypt and to suspend all contracts currently being negotiated in these sectors. This suspension should continue until the Egyptian authorities stop their violent crackdown on human rights NGOs and peaceful dissidents, and the grave violations of international law taking place in the Sinai under the cover of combatting terrorism. This crackdown will lead to neither stability nor security. On the contrary, terrorist attacks continue to take place throughout Egypt despite the extension of the state of emergency. All these human rights violations are taking Egypt further and further away from the democratic aspirations that were widely expressed in the Arab world in 2011. The repressive policies presage a dark future, feed resentment and despair, and constitute time bombs in what is a key regional country. Like the Arab world as a whole, Egypt cannot be eternally condemned to either dictatorship or religious fanaticism. Our insistence on respect for rights is a lever to help them escape this vicious circle. We hope that our appeal will be heard and we stand ready to respond to any questions you have on this subject. Sincerely, Michel Tubiana President of EuroMed Rights Philippe Jahshan President of Coordination SUD Dimitris Christopoulos President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Bahey eldin Hassan Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Christophe Deloire Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) The Egyptian president with Jean-Yves le Drian, then the minister of Defense, now the minister of Foreign affairs, signing arms deals in Cairo in 2015 (c) AFP Help by sharing this information RSF_en last_img read more

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Main radio station on Anjouan island allowed to resume evening news programme

first_imgNews February 7, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Main radio station on Anjouan island allowed to resume evening news programme Receive email alerts to go further Radio Dzialandzé Mutsamudu (RDM) was told it could resume broadcasting its nightly news programme on 29 January, station coordinator Said Ali Bacar said. Since that date, listeners on Anjouan island have been able to tune in to the 9 p.m. news show, “which is mainly about international events,” Bacar said. The programme was suspended on 12 January on the interior ministry’s orders.—————————–28.01.2005 – Authorities suspend news programme of Anjouan island’s main radio stationReporters Without Borders today urged the authorities on the autonomous island of Anjouan to allow its main radio station, Radio Dzialandzé Mutsamudu (RDM), to resume its daily news programme, which were suspended at the orders of the Anjouan interior and information ministry on 13 January “until further notice.””This decision was unexpected, especially as the news programme was mainly about international news,” the press freedom organisation said.”Suspending this programme means cutting the island off from the rest of the world and undermining diversity in news reporting, which is essential in a democracy,” Reporters Without Borders continued. “We call on interior and information minister Djanffar Salim to let it resume normal programming as soon as possible, for the public’s sake.”The suspension stemmed from a recent strike by the island’s doctors. After health minister Fadhula Said Ali gave his view of the strike on the state-owned Radio Télévision Anjouan (RTA), the doctors wanted to respond but RTA refused, so they turned to RDM, which allowed them to present their side of the dispute on the air.As a result, the interior and information minister summoned RDM coordinator Said Ali Dacar Mgazi and an RDM journalist to a meeting with RTA executives at the start of January to seek an explanation.Shortly thereafter, on 13 January, the minister issued his suspension order, accusing RDM of producing “programmes that do not conform with its statutes and internal regulations.”When RDM was founded as a community radio in 1992, it focussed on culture, but there is no law preventing it from broadcasting news programme. Its 9 p.m. news programme, presented by Tex Mohamed, covered only international news, especially developments in the Middle-East. Partnered with Radio France Internationale (RFI), the radio station is based in Mutsamudu, the capital of Anjouan, which unilaterally declared its independence in 1997. Mutsamudu is the second largest town in what is now the Union of Comoros. Anjouan’s few news media struggle to survive with little funding and despite the strict controls imposed by the island’s authorities. Help by sharing this information June 29, 2020 Find out more Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives Follow the news on Comoros RSF_en Newscenter_img ComorosAfrica The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa November 27, 2020 Find out more News Nearly half of UN member countries have obstructed coronavirus coverage ComorosAfrica Reports Organisation June 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

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Letter to interior minister about violence against journalists

first_img RSF_en News Receive email alerts Angolan police unleash dog on reporter covering protest October 9, 2020 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Angola Help by sharing this information Cyber-attacks against Angolan news site and reporter AngolaAfrica Organisation center_img News November 2, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Letter to interior minister about violence against journalists February 17, 2021 Find out more October 28, 2020 Find out more News Reporters Without Borders has written to Angolan interior minister Sebastiao José Antonio Martins voicing concern about the recent wave of threats and violence against journalists. One has been murdered, two have been physically attacked and injured, and a fourth has been the target of intimidation.“We are concerned by the fact that the victims all work for critical or opposition news media,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said in the letter, sent on 28 October. “The level of violence is very disturbing. The physical safety of journalists is in danger. We are alarmed by the gravity of these attacks.”The letter continued: “Must all of Angola’s journalists feel threatened? Must they all live in fear of an imminent and potentially fatal attack? Is fear in the process of becoming a permanent part of their existence? “These crimes must not go unpunished. Those responsible must be arrested and tried. We hope that the security forces under your authority will carry out thorough investigations in an independent manner. The credibility and reputation of Angola’s authorities are at stake (…) We urge you to give the police all the resources they need in order to arrest the perpetrators without delay.”The latest incident was the ambushing of journalist Rafael Marques on a road leading to Luanda on the night of 23 October. An armed man in a traffic policeman’s uniform stopped him and said: “It is because of your work. I was waiting for you. I respect Luanda’s orders.” He finally released Marques after receiving telephone instructions.Radio Despertar journalist Antonio Manuel Da Silva, better known by his radio name of Jojo, was stabbed on the night of 22 October by a man who, according to witnesses, mentioned Silva’s very popular programme, which recently made fun of President Eduardo Dos Santos.A month before that, TV Zimbo reporter Norberto Abias Sateko was shot and wounded on 22 September, while another Radio Despertar journalist, Alberto Graves Chakussanga, was fatally shot in the back in his home on 5 September. More information Angola is ranked 104th out of 178 countries in the 2010 Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index, but the events that have taken place since early September are likely to result in a lower ranking next year. The government must react and demonstrate a commitment to the media freedom by making every possible effort to arrest those responsible for these attacks. News AngolaAfrica Crackdown on reporters covering Luanda demonstrationlast_img read more

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RSF decries Israeli decision to close Al Jazeera

first_img News RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimes Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists RSF_en Organisation May 16, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Israeli authorities not to go ahead with their plan to shut down Al Jazeera’s operations, as it would amount to censorship of the Qatari TV news broadcaster and would reduce news media pluralism in Israel and the surrounding region. The move was announced yesterday by Israeli communications minister Ayoub Kara, who said he intended to close Al Jazeera’s bureaux in Israel, revoke its journalists’ press passes and cut off its cable and satellite broadcast links in the country.Israel has for years been accusing Al Jazeera of biased coverage of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.During last month’s clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu accused Al Jazeera of “continuing to stir violence” and said he wanted it removed from Israel.At a press conference yesterday, the communications minister said almost all countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, had concluded that “Al Jazeera supports terrorism” and that, under these circumstances, it was “ridiculous” that it continued to broadcast from Israel.“What is ridiculous is that a country that boasts of being a democratic model for the regions falls into line with countries that are notorious enemies of media freedom,” RSF said. “Instead of taking advantage of the desire of certain Gulf states to censor Al Jazeera for purely political reasons, the Israeli authorities could instead set an example by defending media pluralism, which is essential.” Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates – the countries that have been demanding Al Jazeera’s closure as a condition for ending the unprecedented two-month- old regional diplomatic crisis – are ranked 168th, 164th, 161st and 119th respectively in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Israel is ranked 91st. Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information News Follow the news on Israelcenter_img June 3, 2021 Find out more IsraelMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentFreedom of expression to go further News WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists News May 28, 2021 Find out more August 7, 2017 – Updated on August 23, 2019 RSF decries Israeli decision to close Al Jazeera IsraelMiddle East – North Africa Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentFreedom of expression An employee of the Qatar based news network and TV channel Al-Jazeera at the channel’s Jerusalem office on July 31, 2017 AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP last_img read more

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Journalist fights for his life after being shot in head while covering protest

first_imgNews China’s diplomats must stop attacking media over coronavirus reporting December 4, 2019 Find out more Freelancer Wilman Caychigua Robles is fighting for his life in a Cuzco hospital after being shot in the head while covering a protest in the southeastern city of Abancay on 5 December. Reporters Without Borders criticises the interior minister for defending the police decision to open fire on the demonstration. Organisation Help by sharing this information Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about Wilman Caychigua Robles, a freelance contributor to Radio Inca Tropical and the El Chasqui daily newspaper, who is fighting for his life after being shot in the head while covering a protest in the southeastern city of Abancay on 5 December.“We call for a prompt investigation to establish who was responsible for this tragedy, in particular, who was responsible for the police decision to open fire on the protesters,” the press freedom organisation said. “Without minimizing the violence of the protest, we are outraged by interior minister Pilar Mazzetti’s comments defending the use of real bullets by the police and we call for an explanation from the government,” Reporters Without Borders added, voicing its hope for a swift recovery by Caychigua.About 20,000 people took part in protests in Abancay on 4 and 5 December calling for the removal of Rosa Suárez, the head of the Apurímac regional government. There were open clashes with the police on the second day when demonstrators tried to storm the regional government’s headquarters.Caychigua was hit by a stray bullet probably fired by a policeman. It entered his skull and exited through his mouth, and also caused serious neck injuries. He was rushed to a Cuzco hospital where doctors were considering transferring him to Arequipa or Lima in an attempt to save his life, his wife, Pilar Castro, told the PressPerú news agency.Two other journalists were injured in the clashes. Rúben Melgarejo Aguilar of Radio Laser was struck on the head by a thrown stone, but was only slightly hurt. Eloy Martínez of Canal 13 television was hit in the leg by a teargas grenade.More than 50 people were injured in the clashes and one, a student, was fatally shot, according to the interior ministry. The minister, Mazzetti, nonetheless publicly defended the police decision to open fire. Receive email alerts News to go further News Latin America’s community radio – a key service but vulnerable Follow the news on Peru News April 1, 2020 Find out more PeruAmericas PeruAmericas December 8, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist fights for his life after being shot in head while covering protest RSF_en February 10, 2017 Find out morelast_img read more

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Woman journalist shot dead outside her home in Mosul

first_img Organisation December 16, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa Follow the news on Iraq RSF_en Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the murder of freelance journalist Sirwa Abdel Wahab on 4 May in Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad. Her death brings to 212 the number of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Twenty-five of them have been killed in Mosul. Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” December 28, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts News February 15, 2021 Find out more News News Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the murder of freelance journalist Sirwa Abdel Wahab on 4 May in Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad. Her death brings to 212 the number of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Twenty-five of them have been killed in Mosul.“This is yet another case to add to the long list of Iraqi journalists who have been targeted by armed groups operating with complete impunity,” the press freedom organisation said. “We urge the Iraqi authorities to carry out a thorough investigation in order to identify those responsible and to discourage similar murders in the future.”Reporters Without Borders added: “As has happened so often in the past, Wahab was caught in an ambush from which she had no chance of escaping. Our thoughts are with her family and colleagues to whom we offer our sincerest condolences.”Gunmen killed Wahab during an attempt to kidnap her as she leaving her home in the east Mosul neighbourhood of Al-Baqr. When she resisted, they shot her in the head as her mother looked on.Aged 36 and a member of the Kurdistan Union of Journalists, Wahab freelanced for various news media including the news agency Reporters. She also used to work for the satellite TV station Salaheddin. A total of 158 journalists and 54 media assistants have been murdered in Iraq since the start of the US-led invasion in March 2003. Nothing is known of the fate of another 14 journalists and media assistants who were kidnapped. RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” News IraqMiddle East – North Africa Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan to go further May 5, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Woman journalist shot dead outside her home in Mosul Help by sharing this information last_img read more

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Decree bans reporting of natural disasters without prior government permission

first_img May 19, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Decree bans reporting of natural disasters without prior government permission September 22, 2014 Find out more News Dominican RepublicAmericas February 15, 2017 Find out more June 25, 2015 Find out more A decree that bans news coverage of natural disasters without prior government approval in order to prevent panic and bans the media from “showing disrespect to the authorities and public institutions” is ridiculous and dangerous, Reporters Without Borders said today.Adopted on 7 May but not released for 10 days, the decree does not specify what sanctions will apply to violators and simply says that a government commission will assess the seriousness of each case.”The Dominican government’s decree poses a grave danger to press freedom by giving the authorities control over the media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is not the government’s job to decide for the press what news should be reported. Furthermore, the offences are ill-defined and the penalties are not specified, and this vagueness will open the way for arbitrary decisions.”The text of the decree has sparked an outcry in the Dominican press since finally being published in the daily newspaper El Día on 17 May, and journalists have been voicing their discontent. Help by sharing this information Journalists wounded while covering street clashes in Santo Domingo Receive email alerts Newscenter_img to go further News Organisation News Follow the news on Dominican Republic Hostile climate for Dominican media since start of 2015 Dominican Republic: News presenter and producer gunned down in mid-broadcast RSF_en Dominican RepublicAmericas last_img read more

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US – #WeeklyAddress: December 31 – January 6: Newly-declassified documents show FBI media leaks unit

first_img United StatesAmericas News The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index after falling 2 places in the last year. News to go further NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists January 7, 2019 US – #WeeklyAddress: December 31 – January 6: Newly-declassified documents show FBI media leaks unit  For the latest updates, follow RSF on twitter @RSF_en. President Trump holds last minute press briefing, takes no questions Receive email alerts Below are the most notable incidents regarding threats to press freedom in the US during the week of December 31 – January 6: RSF_en United StatesAmericas Organisation June 7, 2021 Find out more NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say Newly-declassified documents unveil FBI media leaks unit President Donald Trump gave an unexpected appearance at the podium of the White House briefing room on January 3 but took no questions. When Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced to the White House press corps shortly after 4 pm EST that there would be a briefing in five minutes, reporters rushed to the briefing room for this increasingly rare opportunity to ask questions. Instead of giving a typical briefing Sanders introduced President Trump, who was accompanied by members of the National Border Patrol Council and National Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, for his first-ever appearance at the briefing room podium. President Trump made a statement pushing for border security and the wall, the contentious issues that culminated in the 13-day-long partial government shutdown, and allowed DHS representatives to speak before exiting the briefing room. Reporters expressed their frustration as he exited, while others missed the briefing altogether due to the short notice. PBS Newshour reporter Yamiche Alcindor tweeted afterward: “A White House briefing is a time where reporters get ample notice to ask questions of the administration. That was not a briefing.” It is rare for a president to speak to the press in a briefing without taking questions. Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Follow the news on United States Help by sharing this information April 28, 2021 Find out more The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a new unit to counter media leaks, according to documents obtained by The Young Turks through a Freedom of Information Act request and published January 2. The documents, which were partially declassified, allege a rapid rise in “media leak threats” as the reason for the unit’s establishment. The unit was created in November 2017, according to the documents, refuting former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ August 2017 claim that the FBI had already created a counterintelligence unit to handle media leaks. It was at this same press conference that Sessions said the Justice Department had more than tripled its number of leak prosecutions compared with the number of investigations that were open at the end of the previous administration. The number of media leak investigations had already rose significantly under the Obama administration, which prosecuted more whistleblowers under the draconian Espionage Act that any other US administration combined. June 3, 2021 Find out more News Newslast_img read more

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Senior officials organise systematic suppression of dissenting voices

first_img to go further February 3, 2021 Find out more SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Receive email alerts Follow the news on Syria Organisation Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Related documents sites_censored until 15.09.09PDF – 431.18 KB March 12, 2021 Find out more What is happening to press freedom in Syria? It is hard to know because many journalists refuse to speak either on the record or anonymously for fear of being identified by the intelligence services. The few accounts emerging confirm that press freedom violations by the authorities have become systematic. Blogger Kareem Arbaji’s three-year jail sentence and the closure of journalist Mazen Darwich’s office on 13 September are the latest evidence.“Repression has been stepped up considerably since the start of the summer,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Under intelligence agency influence, the information ministry has been conducting a series of interrogations and arrests of human rights activists, lawyers and journalists.” The press freedom organisation added: “The journalists have been questioned about articles that are said to constitute ‘an attack on the nation’ or threaten ‘state security.’ The summonses and the closures of their offices have left them feeling confused and harassed.” A freelance journalist who heads the Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression, Mazen Darwich said the closure of his office was carried out by intelligence officials accompanied by police, who confiscated all of its contents. “I received no warning or prior caution from the authorities,” he said in a press release. “These retaliatory measures confirm that attempts are being made to stifle press freedom and free expression (…) a systematic policy based on the violation of Syrian citizens’ constitutional rights and basic freedoms.”The Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression is the country’s only NGO specialising in media issues, Internet access and media monitoring during election campaigns. Operating without a government permit, it has until now monitored violations of journalists’ rights. It recently took the lead in condemning the information minister’s bans on the dissemination of many newspapers and magazines.The blogger Kareem Arbaji received his three-year jail sentence on 13 September from the state security supreme court in Damascus on a charge of “publishing mendacious information liable to weaken the nation’s morale” under article 296 of the criminal code. Held in pre-trial detention for more than two years, ever since his arrest on 6 July 2007 by military intelligence officers, Arbaji used to help run Akhawia, an online forum where all kinds of subjects were discussed. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said it was what he posted online that prompted his arrest and conviction.The website of the Skeyes Centre, a Beirut-based NGO that defends press freedom and culture in the Middle East, became inaccessible to Syrian Internet users on 14 September, according to several sources in Syria.At the same time, the Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression reported that the number of news and information websites blocked in Syria has increased to 241. They include 49 Kurdish sites, 35 opposition sites, 22 Lebanese sites, 15 human rights sites and nine cultural sites.The General Telecommunications Company and the Syrian Scientific Association for Information are jointly responsible for blocking websites inside Syria.The closure of Darwich’s office and Arbaji’s conviction are just the latest in a long list of recent press freedom violations in Syria.The Damascus bureau of the privately-owned satellite TV station Al Mashreq was arbitrarily closed by the security services on 29 July. The bureau of Alep, the third most popular TV station in Syria (after Al Sham and Al Dunia), was closed in a similar fashion a few days later. The station continues to broadcast but its journalists can no longer work in Syria.“This is a sad and strange situation,” the station’s production chief, Mohammed Abdel Rahim, told Reporters Without Borders. “No reason was given for this closure but that is not surprising.” Rahim left Damascus on 7 September after unsuccessful negotiations with the authorities in an attempt to get the bureau reopened.The authorities summoned most of Al Mashreq’s employees and ask them to sign statements that they no longer worked for Live Point, the company that is Al Mashreq’s biggest share-holder. The station’s modern programmes about the Syrian public day-to-day concerns had been a big success.On 13 August, information minister Mohsen Bilal announced that freelance journalist Ibrahim Al Jaban was banned from working for Syrian state satellite TV station Al Suriya and from producing any more the programmes in the Al ‘Alama Al Fariqa (Distinctive Feature) series. No reason was given.Al ‘Alama Al Fariqa’s distinctive feature was its host’s bold questions. The broadcasting of several of its episodes was delayed or banned. The last programme, on 7 August, consisted of an interview with Suleiman Haddad, the head of the Council of the People foreign relations committee and an old friend of Bilal’s.A Baath Party member, Haddad talked about the party’s past prior to 1970, when Hafez al-Assad became president, referring to the disputes between the late president and other party leaders such as Salah Jadid, who was jailed from 1970 until his death in 1994 and who never had access to the Syrian media. It was Bilal himself who banned the programme from being broadcast.“I do not know what motivated the minister’s decision to put an end to Al ‘Alama Al Fariqa,” Jaban said.Syria was ranked 159th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.See the list of blocked sites : Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria News Help by sharing this information March 8, 2021 Find out more News Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists RSF_en News News September 15, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Senior officials organise systematic suppression of dissenting voiceslast_img read more

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Political debate disrupted by cyber-attacks and arrests

first_img Follow the news on Russia Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders deplores the many cases of censorship that marred yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Russia. As most of the traditional media, including TV stations, are controlled by the Kremlin, real political debate takes place only online. But coordinated cyber-attacks and arrests of journalists and bloggers were carried out in an apparent bid to suppress even the online debate. These incidents have obstructed open discussion of Russia’s political future and do not bode well for the presidential election due to take place in March.Wave of cyber-attacksWebsites critical of the government were paralyzed before and during the elections by a series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks (A DDoS attack is one in which many computer systems simultaneously flood a single website with access requests, causing it to block and shut down, thereby denying the service to legitimate users)] aimed as silencing them.LiveJournal, a blog platform that hosts many anti-government blogs, was rendered inaccessible for three days beginning on 1 December. It suffered a DDoS attack on 28 November as well.The targets of DDoS attacks also included:- The site of radio Echo of Moscow, [echo.msk.ru – The site of the independent daily Kommersant, kommersant.ru- The site of the election-monitoring NGO Golos.org- The general news site Gazeta.ru- KartaNarusheniy.ru, an interactive map created by Golos for reporting cases of electoral fraud – The site of Lenizdat, which covers political news in Saint Petersburg, lenizdat.ru- Three opposition sites – Ridus.org, Slon.ru and NewTimes.ru (the two latest relayed the Golos map after Gazeta.ru decided to stop relaying it (see earlier release below)- The site of Dosh, an independent magazine that covers the Russian Caucasus, doshdu.ru- The site of Zaks, which covers political news in the northwest, zaks.ru.Some of the attacks on these sites began a few days before the elections, paving the way for the massive attacks of 3 and 4 December. Most of these sites became accessible again as voting stations were about to close yesterday in central Russia, where the largest number of voters live.In anticipation of this sort of problem, some news media and opposition groups had migrated their site content to online social networks and had told their readers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook if their sites went down.For more information about these cyber-attacks, read this article by Alexey Sidorenko in English for Global Voices.Election coverage obstructedSeveral journalists were barred from voting stations. According to Aleksandr Gorshkov, the editor of the independent news website Fontanka.ru: “In most cases, the reasons given for barring journalists was the fact that they had cameras and, via their photos, could publicize the personal data of voters.”Although illegal, this was the reason that was given to a Fontanka.ru correspondent for preventing him from entering a voting station in the far-north town of Primorye. A reporter for the news agency Rosbalt was evicted from a polling station for photographing a ballot box. Vitaly Kamyshev, the correspondent of Radio Svoboda (the Russian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), was denied access to the Central Election Commission and was stripped of his accreditation. The correspondents of the BBC and American Press Agency were arrested in a Moscow voting station and were held for an hour.Arrests of critical journalists and bloggersA number of opposition journalists and bloggers were briefly arrested during the last few days before the election.The editor of the independent news website Besttoday.ru, Alexey Sochnev, was arrested on 2 December by police who, without showing any warrant, forced their way into his Moscow apartment, breaking the door. He was subsequently charged under article 282 of the criminal code with helping to run an extremist organization. Sochnev was one of several members of the campaign committee of Eduard Limonov (the head of the banned National Bolshevik Party) who were arrested. But Besttoday.ru managing editor Marina Litvinovich said the police also went to the home of the website’s developer in order to search it.The well-known blogger Maria Plieva was arrested while participating in a banned demonstration in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, on 3 December. She was released that evening and appeared in court that next day. A charge of hooliganism was finally dropped.In Ulyanovsk, the blogger Oleg Sofiyn received an anonymous phone call in which he was told that he would end up with a “broken skull” if he continued to criticize the region’s deputy governor, Svetlana Openysheva.The head of the NGO Golos, Lilia Shibanova, was arrested on the night of 2 December on arriving at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and was held for 12 hours. Her computer was confiscated after being closely examined on the grounds that it could contain “material dangerous for national security.”Earlier in the day, Golos was fined 30,000 rubles (720 euros) for allegedly publishing poll results during the five days prior to the elections. The same day, Golos was the subject of a one-sided report by NTV (a station owned by the state oil giant Gazprom) accusing it of being a western intelligence outpost.Most of the traditional media, including TV stations, did not report these incidents, but provided generous coverage of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia, which won the elections.——01.12.2011 – Authorities tighten control of all media in run-up to electionsReporters Without Borders firmly condemns the avalanche of arbitrary censorship measuresthat Russia’s federal and local authorities have been adopting ahead of the 4 Decemberparliamentary elections and the presidential elections scheduled for 4 March.They are targeting both the traditional media, which are closely scrutinized, criticized andthreatened, and the Internet, now recognized as playing a key role in political debate. Russia has51 million Internet users, more than any other country in Europe. A quarter of Russians say theInternet is their main source of news (according to the market research company comScore).Reporters Without Borders has compiled a list of recent freedom of information violations thatshow that no methods are being spared to bolster Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and promoteunanimous acclaim for his decision to run again for the presidency.Censorship of Internet criticismPrime Minister Putin recently warned western countries against any attempt to meddle in Russia’selections and the state-run Ria Novosti news agency was allegedly ordered to rid its website of any foreignnews reports critical of Putin.Grigory Okhotin resigned from Inosmi, a Ria Novosti offshoot that translates foreign mediaarticles into Russian and posts them on its website, after receiving an internal email from thehead of the Internet department asking all employees “not to post any article hostile to Putin andUnited Russia on the site” during the week prior to the elections. Okhotin leaked the email on 26November. A Ria Novosti spokesperson denied Okhotin’s claim on 29 November, pointing out that media censorship violates Russia’s constitution. The news agency is now planning to sue Okhotin fordefamation.LiveJournal, a very popular blog platform that hosts much of the political debate taking placein Russia, was the target of yet another DDoS attack on 28 November. The platform has beenthe repeated target of such attacks (in which a website is blocked by means of thousands ofsimultaneous access requests) since the start of the year. Organisation RSF_en Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown Regional forums targetedOnline regional discussion forums are very popular. In most cases participation is anonymousand Russians like using them to discuss politics. They are a nightmare for the authorities but, asthey are less powerful than national media, it is easier to close them down. Of course, that doesnot stop Russians from continuing their debates on sites hosted abroad. At least three forumshave been closed or suspended since the start of November.On 15 November, police from the western city of Kostroma travelled all the way toDolgoprudny, to the web-hosting company Agava Hosting, to seize the server of Kostroma Jedis, the region’s most popular forum with 12,000 daily visitors, becauseof two satirical videos criticizing governor Igor Slyunyayev (http://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en&v=lJCg5w9SQYs&gl=US and http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UWqTwQ1bNDI#!)As the governor is suing the person who posted the videos for “insulting a state representative”under article 319 of the criminal code, the police said they were conducting a preliminaryinvestigation that would take two weeks and could not return the server before 1 December (threedays before the first round of the elections). As a result, Jedis Forum has been down at the heightof the election campaign.Internet users suspect that the defamation suit is just a pretext in order to gain access to the IPaddresses of the forum’s members and identify all those who have been criticizing the governor’spolicies, which would be a violation of the right to the confidentiality of users’ personal data.Other forums – for example, in the central region of Arzamas (mcn.nnov.ru) and the southern cityof Miass (forum.miass.ru) – were closed or purged of all political content by their administratorsduring November. Whether as a result of self-censorship or on the orders of local officials, it hasnarrowed the scope of online political debate in Russia.Newspapers and radio Surveillance of the traditional media has also been stepped up. The far eastern Sakhalin region’snewspaper Sovetsky Sakhalin has been withdrawn from newsstands. Senior officials allegedlyorders vendors not to sell it and threatened to destroy their stands if they disobeyed. Deliveries tothe Kuril Islands were stopped on the grounds of financial difficulties and many advertisers havewithdrawn their business.Created in 1925, Sovetsky Sakhalin is the oldest and most popular of the region’s newspapersand is the only local media which is independent and which criticizes the region’s authorities.There has been a series of resignations from newsrooms as a result of pressure from theauthorities. The deputy editor of the Gazeta.ru news portal, Roman Badanin, announced hisresignation yesterday because his “coverage of the pre-election period no longer satisfied themanagement and owners.”Badanin objected to the withdrawal of an interactive map of election campaign violationsdisplayed in banner form on the site. The result of a partnership with the NGO Golos (Voice),it allowed Internet users to report violations of the electoral process as they witnessed them.Another news portal, Slon, and the weekly The News Times have adopted it. Gazeta.ru’smanagement said it was removed simply to make space for more advertising in the run-up to theend-of-year holidays. Three members of the management of radio Abakan, radio Ekho Moskvy’s partner in thesouthern Siberian republic of Khakassia, resigned six days ago after being asked by the ownersto change its programme schedule. Two subjects were to have been debated with listenersduring the programme “Razvorot” on 24 November – “homosexual propaganda” (the subject ofa Saint Petersburg municipal assembly bill) and “Putin’s third presidential term.” Abakan had todrop one of the topics because someone close to the ruling United Russia party asked it “not tomix Putin and homos.”Russia is ranked 140th out of 178 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders pressfreedom index and is classified as a “country under surveillance” in its “Enemies of the Internet”report. As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and member of theOrganization for Security and Cooperation in European, Russia is supposed to guarantee mediadiversity and free speech.Laws decriminalizing defamation and insulting comments (including online) and reinforcing thepenalties for physical attacks on journalists were adopted on 17 November. Reporters WithoutBorders urges the authorities to fully implement these laws and to demonstrate a determination torespect media freedom and online freedom of information during the coming elections. December 5, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Political debate disrupted by cyber-attacks and arrests Receive email alerts News May 21, 2021 Find out more to go further News RussiaEurope – Central Asia June 2, 2021 Find out more Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption May 5, 2021 Find out more RussiaEurope – Central Asia News News Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearinglast_img read more

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