INCIDENTS AND THREATS
Ballot boxes will sit for five nights, unsupervised, amid early voting which has begun in the Belarusian presidential election. The U.S. has called on Belarus to hold free elections, and expressed regret over the lack of OSCE observers.
In a new report published on August 5, the United States has accused Russia of developing a sophisticated “ecosystem” to spread disinformation and propaganda about the coronavirus and other issues in a bid to sow confusion and fear.
RFE/RL’s Russian Service contributor Svetlana Prokopyeva has been added to the One Free Press Coalition list of 10 Most Urgent cases of injustice against journalists. She was found guilty on July 3 of “justifying terrorism” based on a commentary she gave in which she said despair may have driven a teenager to blow himself up in front of security service headquarters in Arkhangelsk.
RFE/RL Russian Service journalist Lyudmila Savitskaya and two other journalists have been summoned to the police after covering a solidarity rally in the eastern city of Pskov in support of protests in Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East. The summons accuses the journalists of violating quarantine measures relating to the coronavirus, and requires them to report to police to fill out paperwork. Tatiana Filimonova, a journalist with Caucasian Knot in Volgograd, was accused of an administrative offense on August 4 for violating rules associated with holding a public event after she covered a local rally in that city in support of the protests. (Russian Service, Sever.Realities)
Russian media reports that the investigation of police officers accused of planting drugs in June 2019 on investigative journalist Ivan Golunov did not identify a “mastermind” or contractor behind the crime, suggesting that the officers acted on their own initiative. (Russian Service)
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service reports that authorities in Kyiv have decided to name a square after dissident and Radio Liberty correspondent Serhiy Naboka. Naboka (1955-2003) was one of the leading members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union, an organizer of the Kyiv Democratic Club, and publisher of Voice of Revival, an uncensored, mass-circulation newspaper launched in 1989. (Ukrainian Service)
RFE/RL correspondent Anushervon Aripov has been refused accreditation by Tajik authorities after he reported on campaign trips by President Rahmon ahead of elections expected, but not yet scheduled, for the fall. RFE/RL has repeatedly accused Tajik authorities of withholding credentials from its journalists in retaliation for their reporting, which often deviates from the government’s official line. (in Russian, Current Time TV)
Reporters Without Borders has called for an independent investigation into the death of a newspaper reporter who covered local corruption in Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan. Anwar Jan Kethran was shot dead by two gunmen as he was returning to his home on July 23.
Critics say the space for free speech is shrinking in Pakistan, where officials are accused of expanding restrictions on the free flow of information to social-media sites.
MAJLIS PODCAST: The Death Of Azimjan Askarov And The Fate Of Other Political Prisoners In Central Asia with independent journalist and former Uzbek political prisoner Muhammad Bekjon; Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Director Yevgeny Zhovtis; veteran Central Asia human rights defender Steve Swerdlow; and RFE/RL’s Bruce Pannier.