Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia remain near the top on the list of countries where the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says "impunity" in cases of murdered journalists is "entrenched." The New York-based media watchdog's 2020 Global Impunity Index highlighted a total of 12 countries where "journalists are singled out for murder and their killers go free."
INCIDENTS AND THREATS
A reporter working for Pakistan's private Geo News television channel who had been reported missing in the southern port city of Karachi has been found, his family and employer say. Geo News reported that Ali Imran Syed had contacted his wife by phone to say that he had reached his mother's home in Karachi. The reporter had told his wife that he had "returned safely" and that he hadn't been "physically harmed," the channel said. (Radio Mashaal/Gandhara)
RFE/RL Kazakh Service reporter Saniya Toiken was injured by police officers while reporting on detentions of attendees at a fundraising event for political prisoners on October 24. Toiken filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office for bodily harm, obstruction of journalistic activities, and abuse of authority and official powers by police officers with the use of force. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the attack and said that Kazakh law enforcement “should be protecting [Toiken] and other journalists, not attacking and harassing them. (Kazakh Service)
Journalist Renat Davletgildeev, who took part in the Pussy Riot rally against homophobia on October 7 (Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday), was detained on October 29 in Moscow. Davletgildeev is being held at the Meshchanskiy police precinct in Moscow and is awaiting trial in an administrative case for violating procedures for holding a public rally. The group placed LGBT rainbow flags on the buildings of the Federal Security Service, presidential administration, the Supreme Court, a police headquarters in Moscow's district, and Culture Ministry (Russian Service)
U.S. federal authorities have announced that an Afghan man has been brought to the United States to face trial in the 2008 kidnapping of The New York Times journalist David Rohde and two other men in Afghanistan. The six-count indictment against Haji Najibullah was unsealed in a New York court on October 28. Federal authorities said the 42-year-old Afghan national had been transferred from Ukraine to face charges including hostage taking, kidnapping, and using a gun to commit violence. Najibullah was scheduled for an initial hearing on October 28. (Gandhara)
RFE/RL Belarus Service social media consultant Ihar Losik, as well as Maria Kalesnikava and Marfa Rabkova are among Belarusian political prisoners depicted on billboards in Prague with the hashtag #BelarusHeroes. On October 29, Losik marked his 125th day behind bars; he was arrested on June 25 and accused by authorities of using his popular Telegram channel to “prepare to disrupt public order” ahead of the Presidential election on August 9. (Belarus Service)
Belarusian Association of Journalists reports more than 400 violations of the rights of journalists since the beginning of 2020, of which more than 300 have occurred since the country’s August 9 Presidential election. Persecution of journalists has practically deprived non-state media outlets of the opportunity to carry out their professional duties. Journalists are tried as protesters and placed in custody while covering protests; they are fined, stripped of accreditation, beaten, and in some cases even shot at. Current Time TV tells the story of how Belarusian authorities are trying to interfere with the work of independent media. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has demanded that Hungarian police stop harassing two journalists who were summoned for questioning, after they published stories used drone footage showing armored vehicles parked outside a business of a friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. CPJ said in a news release on October 28 that Gabriella Horn, a reporter for the investigative news outlet Atlatszo, and Balazs Gulyas, a reporter for the independent news website Magyar Hang, were summoned for questioning over their stories.
In celebration of the resiliency of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists will honor four journalists from Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria and Russia who have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their work. Renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam, freelance Iranian reporter Mohammad Mosaed, Dapo Olorunyomi, the co-founder, CEO, and publisher of the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times, and Svetlana Prokopyeva, a freelance correspondent for RFE/RL’s Russian Service who was convicted on charges of “justifying terrorism” in retaliation for comments she made on a radio show. The 2020 International Press Freedom Awards mark the organization’s dedication to fighting for press freedom globally.
Journalist Alexei Romanov has told RFE/RL’s Siberia.Realii project that his lawyers filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against his administrative arrest for participating in a rally in support of the ex-governor of the Khabarovsk region, Sergei Furgal. Romanov was detained on July 31, found guilty, and jailed for 7 days. Khabarovsk residents are regularly detained and arrested for participating in peaceful protests in support of Furgal. (Russian Service/Siberia.Realii)
Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev has announced that a controversial criminal investigation against him has been dropped, a decision welcomed by the U.S., which had expressed concerns over the journalist’s fate. "Received news today that criminal charges against journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev have been dropped. Very happy for him & his family," U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Daniel Rosenblum wrote on Twitter on October 23.
The executive director of the Kyrgyz Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Adelya Laisheva, has told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service that the foundation has officially become a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN). GIJN is the leading international association of investigative journalism organizations, currently with 203 members in 81 countries. (Kyrgyz Service)
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