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Belarus Yanks Accreditations; Coronavirus Conspiracies; Journalists Speak Out

On World Press Freedom Day, Coronavirus Multiplies Challenges Facing Independent Media
RFE/RL journalists Stanislav Aseyev, Svetlana Prokopyeva, Mykola Semena, Alaksandra Dynko, Sirojiddin Tolibov, and Hannah Kaviani speak about the challenges facing independent media in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Iran.


Freedom House Warns Of 'Democratic Breakdown' Across Europe, Eurasia
In its latest report, U.S.-based democracy monitor Freedom House warns of a "stunning democratic breakdown" across Central Europe, the Balkans, and Eurasia as many leaders in the region attempt to do away with any remaining checks on their power.

U.S. Says Russia, China Spinning Coronavirus Conspiracies To Blame West
China and Russia are promoting "false narratives" on social media that blame the West for the coronavirus pandemic while casting their countries as best-equipped to deal with the crisis, U.S. officials say. That message was voiced in Brussels on May 6 in a telephone press conference given by acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker and U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center Lea Gabrielle. (video)

Belarus Strips Russian Reporters Of Accreditation Amid Coronavirus
Belarus authorities have stripped two Russian Channel One journalists of accreditation after their reports about the growing coronavirus outbreak in the country. Channel One called Minsk's move "absolutely groundless" and company representatives told RFE/RL on May 7 that reactions to the move "will be made on diplomatic levels as well."

Russian ‘Fake News’ Law Poses Additional Threat To Media
Russians who share information about the coronavirus crisis that's judged to be "fake news" can now face a fine or even prison time. Critics say the new law can be used to silence independent media and maintain official control over information concerning the pandemic. (video)

Turning A Newspaper Into 'Toilet Paper': Business Daily Caught Up In Putin's War On Journalism
On April 23, the editorial staff of the business daily Vedomosti took the unusual step of publishing an editorial that accused the paper's own acting editor in chief, Andrei Shmarov, of undermining the values of professional journalism that underlie Vedomosti's reputation.

Russian Search Engine Yandex Highlights Negative Navalny Results
The Russian search engine Yandex has been found to have preferenced negative materials in search results about opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Titles such as “Navalny's Illiteracy May Lead Russia To Economic Collapse” topped search results in late April. Yandex explained that the situation is a "temporary experiment," and that it will seek to improve functionality in the future.

Hungary's Orban Rejects Accusations Of Authoritarianism As 'Fake News'
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has accused his political opponents and Hungary's allies alike of "spreading fake news" about the EU member's coronavirus law that allows his government to rule by decree for an unlimited period.

Long In Denial, Tajikistan Struggles As Coronavirus Infections Go From Zero To Hundreds
For months, officials in Tajikistan denied registering any coronavirus infections and instead attacked journalists, accusing them of unnecessarily sowing panic among the people. Now, the country is reeling from the deadly virus as infected patients fill hospitals and medics complain of chronic equipment shortages.

Pakistani Journalist Missing In Sweden Since March Found Dead In River
A Pakistani journalist who went missing two months ago in Sweden has been found dead in a river outside Uppsala, according to Swedish police. Hussain, the editor of the Balochistan Times news website, had been missing since early March. Police said a crime could not be completely ruled out but added that Hussain’s death could equally have been an accident or suicide.

WATCH: Let It All Burn
In December 2018, an experimental Russian rock band with a taste for apocalyptic lyrics caught the attention of police in the western Russian city of Voronezh. This documentary by Andrey Loshak and Current Time about a concert by IC3PEAK is a snapshot of Russia’s assault on free speech.

RSVP: May 8 – German Marshall Fund: A New Time of Troubles in Putin's Russia? With RFE/RL’s Steve Gutterman, Irina Lagunina, and Kiryl Sukhotski

RSVP: May 11 – GW’s Elliot School Central Asia Program: Political Stability and Human Security in Tajikistan in Time of COVID-19. With RFE/RL’s Salimjon Aioubov

INFOGRAPHIC: The Crackdown On Journalists Covering Covid-19

About Journalists in Trouble

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

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