RFE/RL Protests Kazakhstan's Refusal To Accredit Journalists
Central Asian authorities are increasingly withholding accreditations to control the press. RFE/RL President Jamie Fly has complained to the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs over its arbitrary denial of credentials to two Kazakh Service journalists. Tajikistan has refused to accredit seven RFE/RL journalists.
INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Russian State TV Spreads Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
Russia's state TV Channel One, watched by millions, has broadcast conspiracy theories blaming U.S. President Donald Trump, the Miss Universe beauty pageant, and "international corporations" for the coronavirus.
Ex-Russian Officer Admits To Planting Drugs On Golunov
Former Russian police officer Denis Konovalov has admitted framing investigative journalist Ivan Golunov last summer, telling a court his superior ordered him to plant drugs on him. Golunov was arrested on drug charges in Moscow on June 6 in a case that sparked public outrage, leading to his swift release from prison.
Well-Known Chechen Blogger Attacked While Living In Hiding
A human rights group says well-known Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov has been assaulted in his apartment in a European country where he lives in hiding. Abdurakhmanov has continued to criticize the Kadyrov regime from abroad, focusing on human rights violations and corruption in Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in Russia's North Caucasus.
Crimean Journalist Semena Moves To Mainland Ukraine
RFE/RL Crimean contributor Mykola Semena, whose remaining criminal sentence and conviction on a separatism charge were vacated last month, left Crimea for medical treatment in mainland Ukraine on February 17.
Cyberbullying: The View From RFE/RL’s Balkan Service
RFE/RL Balkan Service Director Arbana Vidishiqi says that women journalists in her region are avoiding social media platforms. “There are very few women who are standing up to the bullying in this region. You can literally name them on one hand.” After this report was published, a user on Twitter criticized her, using a regional slur.
Underscoring Lack Of Pluralism And Free Speech, RFE/RL Tajik Service Hosts Failed Debate
Representatives from six out of seven political parties refused to participate in political debates planned for broadcast by RFE/RL’s Tajik Service on February 19, ahead of the country’s March 1 parliamentary elections. Only a representative of the Social-Democratic Party (SDP) accepted the invitation. The country’s ruling People's Democratic party pressured the other parties to avoid the event; instead, the Service produced a show titled The Failed Debate, featuring the SDP deputy chairman and an empty chair.
RSF Condemns Pakistan Attempt To 'Censor' Social Media
Reporters Without Borders is urging Pakistani federal authorities to rescind newly adopted rules for regulating social-media content, saying they pose a "major threat" to journalists' work. Numerous media freedom groups have expressed concern that the regulations would give the authorities unchecked powers to stifle free speech and press freedom
KAZAKHSTAN: RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service was the only media outlet to provide sustained live coverage of the February 22 opposition rallies in Kazakhstan, during which an estimated 300 people were detained. Coverage was livestreamed in Kazakh and Russian, despite an internet shutdown ordered by authorities that suspended online connections for several hours on the central streets of Nur-Sultan and Almaty. Visits to the Service’s website reached 330,000 on Saturday. State-run broadcast media ignored the protests.
IRAN: RFE/RL’s Radio Farda countered the government’s secrecy and state-run media’s disinformation about the coronavirus, reporting on Iran’s first documented cases, the spread of the virus, and the government’s response. The Service also used its extensive social media presence to provide public service information on the virus’s symptoms and means to minimize exposure and risk.
CURRENT TIME: A short documentary on the reindeer-herding Nenets people, who inhabit Russia’s Siberian Yamal peninsula, attracted more than 670,000 views on YouTube. A 3-minute version for social media drew some 440,000 views on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and VKontakte. In comments that numbered over 1,277, viewers thanked the network for its compelling coverage of a unique, human story.
MAJLIS PODCAST: Tajikistan’s March 1 Elections
PHOTOGALLERY: Remembering Boris Nemtsov