An activist in Herat has told of restrictions on clothing, while a Kabul resident was surviving on bread after not being paid her salary. RFE/RL's Radio Azadi journalist Mustafa Sarwar answered questions from Current Time viewers and talked about life in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Rahila Elena is one of the very few women journalists in Kabul who continues to work since the hard-line Taliban group took over the Afghan capital and ordered working women to stay home as the militants were not yet "trained" to respect them. The young reporter for a local media outlet -- who is using a pseudonym for her own protection -- Elena told RFE/RL in an interview that her plans for the future have been shattered and that she is "dealing with a new reality." Also, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warns that Female Journalists Are Disappearing From Afghanistan’s Media Landscape, Group Warns.
A number of leading Russian news journals and websites have joined forces to protest against the targeting by authorities of a growing number of independent media outlets and journalists under Russia’s controversial “foreign agent” law. In a text published online on August 27 and addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials, the group of independent media – including Forbes, Novaya gazeta, Dozhd, and Meduza – issued six demands, including the rescinding of a law labeling certain independent media and journalists as “foreign agents.” RFE/RL President Jamie Fly has announced RFE/RL’s support for the campaign as well.
RFE/RL Belarus Service consultant Ihar Losik, who has been in pre-trial detention since June 2020, has addressed Pope Francis, in a letter published by RFE/RL’s Belarus Service referencing Losik’s wife Darya. "I ask you to stand up for hundreds and thousands of Belarusians" -- Losik wrote. He also wrote that hundreds and thousands of Belarusians, faced with lawlessness and injustice, fall into despair and see no way out of this situation. Losik had been charged initially with allegedly using his popular Telegram channel to "prepare to disrupt public order" ahead of an August 9 presidential election that incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka subsequently claimed he won by a landslide amid allegations of widespread fraud. (in Russian, Current Time TV/Belarus Service)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says the Russian state is "tightening its grip" on the Internet, "drastically" restricting freedom of the press and of expression ahead of next month's parliamentary elections. In a report published on August 31, RSF noted that at least five independent sites had to cease their activity this year, and more media were "arbitrarily" declared "foreign agents" by the authorities, including TV Dozhd, the Latvian-based news portal Meduza, and several investigative sites.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that while it had insufficient evidence to conclude there was Russian state involvement in the 2009 abduction and murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, Russian authorities failed to properly investigate the killing. The court found Russian officials also undermined the ECHR's proceedings in the case, brought by Estemirova's sister, by refusing to comply with evidentiary requirements. Estemirova's daughter and the rights group that her mother worked for both expressed disappointment with the court's failure to point a finger at Russian officials they believe are responsible.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release a financial reporter who was reportedly arrested this week on security charges, saying that the jailing of journalists for doing their jobs is “an outrageous form of censorship that must end.” The New-York-based media freedom watchdog made the call in a statement on September 1 after Amir-Abbas Azarmvand, who works for the state run Iranian economic newspaper SMT, was arrested at his parents’ home in Tehran by security agents of the Intelligence Ministry, according to exile-run outlets.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling for international solidarity with Belarus’s “persecuted” independent journalists as a crackdown on media and civil society intensifies following last year's disputed presidential election. “We call on the international community to vigorously support their resistance and to continue offering a refuge to journalists who are forced to flee the persecution,” RSF said in a statement on September 1, nearly a week after the Belarusian Supreme Court ordered the closure of the country’s only independent journalists’ association on “spurious grounds.” Also: Belarus Closes Journalists' Association Amid Ongoing Crackdown On Media.
BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford has left Russia as a result of a de facto expulsion that the British broadcaster called an assault on media freedom amid a dispute with Moscow over the treatment of foreign journalists. Rainsford is one of two BBC English-language correspondents in Moscow and was told to leave after Moscow accused London of discriminating against Russian journalists working in the United Kingdom. After more than two decades reporting from Russia, she wrote in a farewell report on August 31 that "by the time you read it I'll be on my way back to England, expelled from Russia as a national security threat."
Journalists at the online magazine Village Kazakhstan say they have come under pressure from unknown state officials over a recent report about the life of a boy who was raped three years ago by teenagers in Kazakhstan's southern region of Turkistan. "We have to inform you that unknown individuals who introduce themselves as officials of state entities are attacking us right now, demanding we remove the article from our website. We demand you stop putting pressure on independent journalists," the magazine said in its Telegram channel on September 1.