On July 22, during a news conference at Kazakhstan’s Bureau for Human Rights in Almaty, a group of women assaulted two RFE/RL journalists and other reporters in a coordinated attack, hitting them and damaging their equipment. RFE/RL has filed an official complaint with Kazakh authorities and demanded a thorough investigation.
Incidents and Threats
Vladimir Kara-Murza Sr., one of Russia's most prominent journalists and a pioneer of independent post-Soviet television, died on July 27 at the age of 59 in Moscow. In the early 1990s, he was a founding member of the newly created NTV, Russia's first independent television channel. For many years he hosted “Facets of Time,” an influential current affairs program, for RFE/RL’s Russian Service. RFE/RL will relaunch a version of the program in Kara-Murza’s memory this fall.
Geo News, Pakistan’s most popular TV station, was abruptly taken off the air without official reason on July 21 and 22 ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington, D.C. Pakistani journalists have conducted numerous protests in recent weeks against massive layoffs and increasing censorship.
On July 19, Georgian journalists at the Rustavi-2 TV station staged an on-air protest of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights restoring the station’s ownership to Kibar Khalvashi, a man they say is too close to the government.
Effective July 19, telecom operators in Kazakhstan require subscribers to install a special security certificate in all devices that have Internet access to protect them from “hacker attacks and viewing illegal content,” in accordance with Article 26 of the Law on Communications. An explanation from telecom operators warns that devices lacking the certificate will experience “problems with access to certain Internet resources.” (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has strongly condemned the arrest of Farangis Mazloom, the mother of Soheil Arabi, an imprisoned citizen-journalist who was awarded the RSF Press Freedom Prize in 2017. RSF says Mazloom’s arrest fits a pattern of Iranian government harassment of the families of prisoners of conscience, especially journalists.
RFE/RL Impact Stories
RUSSIA: Officers clad in riot gear, using batons and excessive force, detained more than 1,300 people in front of Moscow’s City Hall on July 27. The protests were against the barring of independent and opposition candidates from city council elections, slated for September. Coverage of the protests was virtually absent from state TV on the day. Live reporting by RFE/RL’s Russian Service and Current Time drew over 5 million combined views.
IRAN: RFE/RL’s Iranian Service Radio Farda suspended normal programming on July 20 and went live on air and digital platforms with news updates, expert analysis, interviews, and extended overnight radio newscasts following the July 19 seizure of British oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. (Statistics unavailable for Facebook Live in Iran.)
PAKISTAN: RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal covered the first election on July 20 - 21 of parliamentarians to represent Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) since FATA’s merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial legislature in May. The area was long governed by British colonial-era regulations. Mashaal’s local correspondents reported continuously, live on air and on digital platforms, for local Pashto-speaking audiences that have no other access to independent media.
TAJIKISTAN: July 29 marked the one-year anniversary of a terrorist attack on seven foreign cyclists in Tajikistan, four of whom died. RFE/RL’s Tajik Service published an in depth study of perpetrator Hussain Abdusamadov, exploring his transition from elite boarding school student to Jihadi extremist. RFE/RL’s exclusive video reporting of the attack and its immediate aftermath was featured in a June 23 segment of The New York Times ’ new show, The Weekly.