Ambassador William Taylor, the U.S. Charge d'Affaires of the United States embassy in Ukraine, has recognized the persecution by Russian authorities and Russia-backed separatists of RFE/RL Ukrainian Service contributors Stanislav Aseyev, Mykola Semena, and Oleh Halaziuk.
INCIDENTS AND THREATS
The head of a Russian parliamentary commission pursuing Moscow's claim that Deutsche Welle, Germany's public broadcaster, promoted unrest in Russia has said a representative of the broadcaster must appear before a parliamentary hearing. Should the broadcaster refuse, Duma deputy Vasily Piskarev said, "We will petition for the government to suspend or completely revoke the accreditation of their correspondents." Deutsche Welle Director-General Peter Limbourg called Moscow's accusations “not just a blatant violation of the freedom of the press but rather the behavior of a police state."
In recent years, iconic faces have disappeared from the Bulgarian airwaves – some of them fired and others simply hidden behind the scenes. RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service looks at what has been occurring to well-known TV journalists in the country.
The One Free Press Coalition, a group of 36 prominent media organizations that advocate on behalf of threatened journalists all over the world, has included in its September 2019 “Most Urgent” list former RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service bureau chief Khadija Ismayilova, and two journalists from RFE/RL's broadcast region, Kyrgyz journalist Azimjon Askarov and Iranian journalist Masoud Kazemi.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Tajik authorities to investigate the "apparently targeted disruption" of the independent news agency Asia-Plus's websites and to help ensure they are accessible.
Amnesty International reports that the Revolutionary Court in Tehran has issued 18-year sentences to four journalists with the online magazine Gam for peaceful protests for workers’ rights.
A list compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists includes RFE/RL broadcasting regions Turkmenistan, Iran, and Belarus. Turkmenistan was listed as the third most censored region in the world after Eritrea and North Korea.
RuNET: On September 5, Current Time premiered for Russian-speaking audiences InterNYET: A History Of The Russian Internet (Холивар: История Рунета), an original series directed by acclaimed Russian journalist and documentary filmmaker Andrei Loshak that tells the story of the rise and fall of the Russian Internet. The release coincides with the implementation of a “sovereign Internet” law planned for November, which the Kremlin has said will enable it to separate the country from the global internet.
UKRAINE - RUSSIA PRISONER SWAP: On Saturday, September 7, Russia and Ukraine exchanged dozens of prisoners as a result of careful negotiations that could signal improved ties between Moscow and Kyiv. RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service’s coverage of the event, including live reporting of the prisoners’ arrival in Kyiv and a video of released Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov speaking with his mother in Crimea by phone, received more than 3 million combined video views and 480,000 visits to its website. On September 10, Current Time broadcast live, with Russian translation, the first news conference by Sentsov and activist Oleksandr Kolchenko since their release.
RUSSIA ELECTIONS: Russia’s September 8 municipal elections were a centerpiece of RFE/RL Russian-language reporting last week. Current Time provided hours of live polling place reports, talk shows, interviews, and voter reactions from cities across Russia. A special report delved into the motivations of students who participated in the unsanctioned, pre-election Moscow protests. The Russian Service focused on the performance and outcomes of Russia’s liberal opposition with coverage that included live blogging, multimedia talk shows, and opinion pieces. The Tatar-Bashkir Service reported on more than 100 falsifications registered in Tatarstan alone.
AFGHANISTAN: Marking the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence, RFE/RL’s Afghan Service published the documentary, 100 Turbulent Years: The Battle For Afghan Women’s Rights Since Independence. The film, which coincides with peace talks that envision a return of the Taliban to power, was viewed more than half a million times on Facebook in Dari and Pashto.
TAJIKISTAN: RFE/RL’s Tajik Service has reported on documents proving that public sector workers in western Tajikistan were asked to surrender a day’s wages to pay for a ceremonial visit by President Emomali Rahmon. District officials claimed the money was granted on a “voluntary basis” only.
RFE/RL HACKATHON: At its inaugural, annual Hackathon over the weekend, RFE/RL gathered together members of Prague’s digital and journalistic communities for a 24-hour marathon session to devise digital tools to strengthen the impact of independent media.