INCIDENTS AND THREATS
The Belarus Association of Journalists reports that the country’s Investigative Committee announced that it would not conduct an inspection and initiate a criminal case on reports of mass detention of journalists on August 27. More than 40 journalists have been detained that evening in Minsk and in Brest. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Twenty-two-year-old Stysyapan Putsila's Nexta is at the vanguard -- both in documenting the demonstrations in Belarus and in supporting them. His Telegram channel provides over 2 million subscribers with a real-time, relentlessly updated mix of news bits, comment, video, aerial photos, and street diagrams for protesters.
A court in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, has upheld a lower court decision to fine a journalist whose collarbone was broken by a police officer while being detained in July. David Frenkel said on Twitter that the St. Petersburg City Court announced its decision on September 10. In late July, a St. Petersburg district court fined Frenkel, who writes for the Mediazona website, 2,500 rubles ($33) after finding him guilty of disobeying a police officer, interfering with the work of of a polling station, and the violation of coronavirus restrictions on June 30, when Frenkel sought to report on early voting in Russia’s Constitution referendum.
The Belarusian government sees the media message about the protests as a matter of national security: It has detained, deported, or revoked the accreditation of numerous journalists reporting on the protests for foreign media organizations, including Current Time and its parent organization, RFE/RL To ensure Belarus’ TV channels, all state-run, stay on the air and on message, Lukashenka invited in staffers from Russia’s Kremlin-run RT, often described as a propaganda network. But the cooperation did not stop at technical or editorial support.
Prosecutors in Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia have asked a court in the regional capital, Magas, to sentence Rashid Maisigov, a former editor of the opposition online media outlet Fortanga, to five years in prison on drug charges that he and his lawyers reject. Maisigov's lawyer, Magomet Aushev, told RFE/RL on September 10 that a date for pronouncing the verdict and sentence had not been set yet, adding that the trial was adjourned until September 15.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is urging the UN Human Rights Council to act in defense of Iranian journalists and citizen journalists who are being "censored, threatened, detained arbitrarily, mistreated and sometimes tortured" for their journalistic activities. In a September 8 statement, the Paris-based media freedom watchdog said at least five journalists have been targeted in the latest crackdown on the media in Iran.
Deploring the Iranian government's "cruel" approach towards journalists, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Secretary-General Anthony Bellanger condemned the four year and nine month prison sentence handed down to Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed, who was arrested twice in the past year for his reports on financial corruption and the anti-regime protests in November 2019.
The United States has expressed concerns over the fate of independent Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev, who was extradited to Tashkent from Kyrgyzstan last month. In a September 5 statement, the U.S. State Department said the extradition of Abdullaev, who had been enrolled in a journalism program at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, was "based on vague and unsubstantiated charges."
The September 9 sortition of jury in the case of the slain journalist Pavlo Sheremet, has selected the three main jurors, and two reserve journals that can replace one of the main ones if necessary. The next court hearing with the jury is scheduled for September 28. (Ukrainian Service)
A court in Moscow has extended the pretrial arrests of three former police officers suspected in the illegal arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov last year, a case that sparked a public outcry over wrongdoing by police. The Basmanny district court on September 4 ruled that Akbar Sergaliyev, Roman Feofanov, and Maksim Umetbayev must remain in pretrial detention at least until December 7. A decision to prolong their detention for the fourth former police officer in the case, Igor Lyakhovets, will be made separately because his lawyer did not show up at the September 4 hearing.
PRESSROOM: Briefly….RFE/RL’s Return To Hungary
RFE/RL has returned to Hungary, launching an entirely digital Hungarian Service, SzabadEuropa.hu, in response to the country’s steep decline in media freedom.
MAJLIS PODCAST: What Has Changed Over Mirziyoev’s Four Years In Power?
With University of Pittsburgh’s Jennifer Murtazashvili, RFE/RL Uzbek Service’s Alisher Siddiq, and RFE/RL veteran Central Asia watcher Bruce Pannier.