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Prokopyeva Solidarity Campaign; Sharp Elbows In Ukraine; Intimidation In Kyrgyzstan


On September 13, presidential spokeswoman Yulia Mendel shoved aside RFE/RL Kyiv correspondent Christopher Miller when he approached Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the annual YES conference in Kyiv on Ukraine and Europe.

INCIDENTS AND THREATS

RFE/RL, Rights Groups Demand Investigation Of Attack On RFE/RL Kyrgyz Correspondent
Human Rights Watch, the OSCE, RFE/RL, and other rights groups have called for a thorough investigation of a September 28 attack on Aibek Kulchumanov in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. Kulchumanov was on assignment as part of a series of investigative reports involving former deputy Customs Service chief Raiymbek Matraimov. His attackers, a group of young men, seized his equipment and documents, and asked him who ordered the reports. Local police have launched a probe into what they are calling a robbery. RFE/RL has protested a "pressure campaign" that is targeting its journalists in the country.

Two RFE/RL Reporters Detained In Dushanbe
RFE/RL Tajik Service journalists Tahmina Hakimova and Afsona Akobirshoeva were detained and released on October 7 in Dushanbe after recording an incident involving a police arrest. Police confiscated the video, saying it constituted “interference” with police activities, and threatened them with 15 days in prison. Police later said there had been a “misunderstanding.” Tajik authorities continue to withhold accreditation from nine RFE/RL journalists, and are scheduled to review the credentials of an additional nine by November 1.

Solidarity Campaign Launched In Support of Journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva
Last week Russian journalists and public supporters launched a solidarity campaign to protest the criminal prosecution of Pskov journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, who is accused of “justifying terrorism” because of statements she made for Ekho Moskvy radio following a Russian teenager’s suicide bombing at security agency headquarters in Arkhangelsk. Read Prokopyeva’s open letter, published by RFE/RL’s new North Realities unit (Sever.Realii) and other Russian media outlets.

Russian Court Sentences RFE/RL Crimean Contributor
The Russian military court in Rostov-on-Don on October 2 sentenced Nariman Memedeminov, a Crimean blogger who contributes to RFE/RL’s Crimea unit, Crimea.Realii, to 2 years and 6 months in prison for “publicly calling for terrorism.” The court cited videos on Memedeminov’s YouTube channel from 2013 to 2015 in which he commented on political events and called for adherence to Islamic norms.

Ukrainian Journalists Union Demands Apology From Presidential Office
Ukraine's National Union of Journalists has called on the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and its spokeswoman to issue a formal apology to journalists from RFE/RL, and to change their behavior toward the media. The Union on September 28 specifically mentioned presidential spokeswoman Yulia Mendel, who has shoved or pulled aside journalists who approach the president.

Bosnia's Journalists Demand Protection After Radio Station Attack
Dozens of journalists marched through Bosnia-Herzegovina's capital on September 30 to protest violence against media workers, after assailants who said they were soccer fans broke into the studios of Radio Sarajevo on September 27 and threatened staff until they removed a news item from its website. Radio Sarajevo described the incident as "an actual hostage situation." FK Sarajevo has condemned the incident.

Blogger Confined To Psychiatric Clinic In Uzbekistan
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on authorities in Uzbekistan to immediately release blogger Nafosat Olloshukurova and allow her to report freely. Olloshukurova, who blogs on Facebook under the name Shabnam Olloshkurova, was placed in the Khorezm regional psychiatric center on September 30, after serving 10 days in administrative detention. Her Facebook posts have been critical of public authorities, and included allegations of corruption and illegal demolitions.

U.S. Embassy Calls For Justice For Politkovskaya Killing
On the 13th anniversary of the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has renewed calls on Russian authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for her death.

RFE/RL IMPACT

UKRAINE: The Schemes investigative team of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service aired an expose of Andriy Bohdan, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s powerful chief of staff, that earned more than 300,000 views on Facebook and YouTube, more than 130 citations in major Ukrainian media, and coverage in the Atlantic Council’s UkraineAlert blog. Bohdan was revealed to have been part of a Ukrainian government delegation led by former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov that flew to Russia in the days just prior to the Ukrainian government’s fateful 2013 decision to back away from an association agreement with the European Union. Bohdan is pursuing a lawsuit against Schemes and RFE/RL over previous reporting about his travels to Russia.

A 360 video project titled The Mine by the Ukrainian Service has won a Bronze award in the 9th Annual Lovie Awards in the Internet Video – Virtual Reality & 360 category for Best Narrative Experience. The project takes an intimate look at Ukrainian coal miners and their harsh working conditions.

RUSSIA: Current Time received unusual access to prison IK-9 in the Russian city of Petrozavodsk, a facility that has been featured in prisoner allegations of torture. On September 27, Current Time posted an exclusive video of the visit, which has received 524,500 views across digital platforms.

MOLDOVA: RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service reported on the divergent messages Moldovan President Igor Dodon sends when he speaks to European leaders in Brussels and to Russian leaders in Moscow through a series of comic-style reports on its Politigraf Facebook page.

PAKISTAN: RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal broke the story on October 6 of a prisoner swap in which 11 Taliban prisoners, including three high ranking members, were released in exchange for the release of three Indian engineers who were kidnapped by the Taliban in May 2018. The story was widely cited by major Indian and Pakistani media.

Radio Mashaal reported on October 4 that hundreds of burqas – full-body veils – were distributed to students at a girls-only school in Mardan, northwest Pakistan. The decision by a former district governor, which was criticized by rights activists, came one month after the suspension of a decree requiring that girls in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa educational system wear the hijab.

Aggregate incidents by country in which RFE/RL journalists and contributors have been harassed, intimidated, threatened, assaulted, detained, or arrested due to their work.
Aggregate incidents by country in which RFE/RL journalists and contributors have been harassed, intimidated, threatened, assaulted, detained, or arrested due to their work.

About Journalists in Trouble

Journalists in Trouble is a bi-weekly report of incidents targeting RFE/RL journalists and their work, and developments affecting press freedom in our coverage region.​

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