"RFE/RL deplores the Russian government’s decision to add our correspondent Elizaveta Maetnaya to its list of 'foreign agents.' The journalists who work for RFE/RL in Russia are proud Russians, seeking to use their skills to provide objective news and information to their fellow citizens. These escalating Kremlin attacks on independent voices only serve to deprive the Russian people of access to information at a critical moment in Russia’s history," Fly said in a statement.
INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Prosecutors in Russia-annexed Crimea formally indicted RFE/RL Crimea.Realities contributor Vladyslav Yesypenko, accusing him of violating two articles of the criminal code -- “illegal manufacture of explosives, alteration or repair of explosive devices” and “illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons, their main parts, ammunition.” There is no charge of espionage and work for Ukrainian intelligence in the indictment. Yesypenko pleaded not guilty on both charges. Earlier, Yesypenko’s wife Kateryna reported that Yesypenko passed out while being transported from the court to the detention center on July 6. (Ukrainian Service/Crimea.Realii)
Dozens of journalists gathered to commemorate a Georgian television cameraman who was buried on July 13 after being viciously beaten while covering an LGBT event. Lekso Lashkarava, 36, a cameraman for the Pirveli television station, was found dead at his home on July 11, days after being attacked by an anti-LGBT mob while covering the Tbilisi Pride parade. Lashkarava was buried at a cemetery in the capital, Tbilisi, in a somber ceremony attended by many fellow journalists. Also, four Georgian TV Stations Suspend Broadcasting For 24 Hours, Demand PM's Resignation.
Four Iranian nationals have been charged in New York City with conspiring to kidnap a U.S.-based journalist who has written about the Iranian government’s human rights abuses, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement on July 13. The suspects are an Iranian intelligence officer and three alleged members of an Iranian intelligence network who allegedly conspired to kidnap the journalist with the backing of the Iranian government. The Justice Department identified the journalist only as a U.S. citizen based in Brooklyn -- but Masih Alinejad, an activist and writer living in Brooklyn, confirmed that U.S. authorities had told her she was among the targeted victims and said she was the U.S. resident referred to in the indictment.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Belarus' authoritarian regime of carrying out "massive, unprecedented" raids and detentions against the country's leading civil society organizations and said those being held should be released immediately. "For nearly a year since the election and in the months leading up to it, Belarusian authorities have imprisoned, harassed, and threatened hundreds of journalists, activists, and critics,” said Rachel Denber, the rights watchdog's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia.
Belarusian authorities raided the offices of several media outlets outside the capital, Minsk, and searched the homes of independent journalists on July 9 in the second straight day of the country's latest crackdown on independent press critical of authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The July 9 raids, most of which took place in the western city of Brest, came a day after the website of the country's oldest newspaper, Nasha Niva, was blocked and its chief editor was detained and reportedly beaten while security forces searched the offices of several regional newspapers.
In a letter to his wife Darya, RFE/RL’s Belarus Service consultant Ihar Losik, who has been held behind bars in pre-trial detention for more than one year, wrote that “in addition to a year of illegal imprisonment and a closed ‘trial’ they decided to finish with an insult to human dignity. First, endless undressing, naked squats, escorted in handcuffs in the position of ‘swallow’ [hand raised high behind the back, while bent at the waist facing down] as if I were some particularly dangerous criminal.” Losik was detained on June 25, 2020, following a search of his apartment in the Belarusian city of Baranavichy. A prominent blogger, Losik has been accused by authorities of using his popular Telegram channel to “prepare to disrupt public order” ahead of the controversial August 9 presidential election in Belarus of a longtime incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka. (Belarus Service)
After TVDozhd presenter Anna Mongait received numerous threats and other abuse on social media, including against her children, for her report on a young lesbian couple that appeaed on the cover of the Russian edition of Elle magazine, the Russian independent TV channel filed a complaint with the Investigative Committee asking that a criminal case be opened under the article on obstructing the journalist's professional activities with threats of violence. (Russian Service)
The Moscow Arbitration Court fully satisfied a claim filed by the Russian state-owned company Rosneft and ordered the investigative publication IStories to take down its story about Rosneft's purchase of shares in the Italian tire manufacturer Pirelli. Rosneft demanded that the text be removed because it allegedly contained false information discrediting the company's business reputation. IStories wrote that they have provided all the evidence “confirming the reliability of their information,” including references to the purchase of the shares by Russian state media. Earlier in April, the FSB conducted a search of the apartment of the publication’s editor-in-chief Roman Anin. (in Russian, CurrentTimeTV)
Chinese propaganda broadcasts to Russia have a long history, going back to 1954 and the radio station “Beijing.” In 2009 China's Central Television CCTV began broadcasting in Russian, and Chinese outlet penetration of Russia’s media market has continued to expand ever since. RFE/Rl’s Tatar-Bashkir Service project Idel.Realii explores Chinese propaganda efforts and influence in Russia, especially efforts to shape perceptions about China’s actions against Muslims living in its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Tatar-Bashkir Service/Idel.Realii)
Hungary, with 74 percent of people active, had one of the highest social-network participation levels in the EU in 2020.