excessive force

Afghan human rights and media workers face attacks while new NGO law threatens civil society

Over the last few months, human rights workers and journalists have been attacked and killed. 24 were killed when a group of heavily armed militants stormed a Médecins Sans Frontiéres run maternity wing in Kabul. A new NGO law could lead to undue regulations, oversight and interference for civil society while government backtracks on proposed amendments to a media law. Protests in Afghanistan have been met with deadly force from the authorities. Read more

Afghan human rights and media workers face attacks while new NGO law threatens civil society

Critics detained for COVID-19 related remarks

Civic activists, opposition leaders and journalist under attack amid COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli released from detention, Azeri activist detained for a Facebook post one day after release from psychiatric clinic , Azeri activist detained for demonstrating police brutality on social media, March for women rights ends with police violence, Student protest ends with arrests, Protesters, journalists beaten during protest in Baku, Civil society publishes report highlighting challenges faced by NGOs and issues recommendations, Read more

Critics detained for COVID-19 related remarks

PM condemned for negative rhetoric against media, attempts to shut down TV station

Although the citizens and activists of Tirana called on the authorities to halt the plan to demolish a cultural heritage site of the city, their attempts were unsuccessful. Many people from different backgrounds took to the streets to protest the decision to demolish the National Theatre. They furthermore accused the authorities of starting the demolition while some of the protesters were in the building, thus endangering their lives. Police also used force to push back masses of protesters. A journalist was also detained during the protest. In a separate development, Prime Minister Edi Rama has been criticised for his negative rhetoric towards reporters and journalists in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Health Inspectorate has requested the closure of the RTV Ora Television station for violating the instructions by the Ministry of Health to allow only two people in television studios at a time. This is viewed as an attempt to silence critical journalism under the guise of the pandemic. Read more

PM condemned for negative rhetoric against media, attempts to shut down TV station

Protests in Nepal around COVID-19 met with excessive force while journalists face attacks

Protests expressing discontent with the COVID-19 response have been met with excessive force and arrests. There have also been ongoing threats and attacks against journalists in Nepal for their reporting on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Online critics have also been targeted for defamation using the Electronic Transaction Act. A proposed Intelligence Bill gives the national intelligence agency unlimited surveillance and search powers. Read more

Protests in Nepal around COVID-19 met with excessive force while journalists face attacks

Austerity measures during COVID-19 lead to protests in Ecuador

On 16th March 2020, Ecuador’s government published a decree declaring a "state of exception" in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This suspended some individual rights related to freedom of association and assembly, and provided government with authority to use digital tools to monitor individuals under mandatory isolation or quarantine. Read more

Austerity measures during COVID-19 lead to protests in Ecuador

Countrywide protests to end police brutality in the United States met by militarised law enforcement

Massive protests erupted in cities across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer on 25th May 2020. A harrowing video filmed by witnesses shows the officer pressing his knee into the handcuffed man's neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Outrage brimmed over, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets to protest entrenched racism and the US’s long history of killings of Black and Brown people by law enforcement agents. Read more

Countrywide protests to end police brutality in the United States met by militarised law enforcement

Media regulator suspends three media outlets, two HRDs and one journalist briefly detained

On 21st April 2020, security agents detained two members of the human rights network Collectif des associations contre l’impunité au Togo (CACIT; Collective of Associations against Impunity in Togo) in the vicinity of the residence of opposition leader Agbéyomé Kodjo in Lomé. The two HRDs - Kossi Béni Okouto and Degboe Mawuena Doudji - were on a mission to observe the respect of human rights during the arrest of opposition leader Agbéyomé Kodjo. Read more  |  Read in French

Media regulator suspends three media outlets, two HRDs and one journalist briefly detained

Protests over Serbian Orthodox bishops’ detention; worst rating for press freedom in Western Balkans

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, there was no coordination between CSOs and the government, which is reflected in the fact that CSO representatives were not included in any of the established crisis bodies. During the pandemic, police detained a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church for holding a prayer gathering in a monastery and thus defying the ban on social gatherings. In reaction to the arrest of the Serbian Orthodox bishop, several hundred citizens held protests in several Montenegrin towns. The protests became violent, with police using tear gas and shock bombs to disperse the crowds and some protesters were detained. Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2020 World Press Freedom Index finds that Montenegro's press freedom is in decline as it is the worst rated county in the Western Balkan region. Read more

Protests over Serbian Orthodox bishops’ detention; worst rating for press freedom in Western Balkans

Further attempts to curtail freedom of expression during COVID-19

As part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency measures, the Turkish government enacted strong general restrictions on assembly that especially relate to the work of CSOs. With a total ban on public gatherings, citizens have turned to online spaces for creative means of protest. During COVID-19 pandemic there was an increase in journalists being jailed on charges of “causing people to panic and publishing reports on coronavirus outside the knowledge of authorities”. Moreover, the Turkish government discriminated against journalists when it announced the release of approximately 90,000 prisoners in order to relieve overcrowded prisons during the pandemic, but excluded journalists, human rights defenders and all political prisoners. Read more

Further attempts to curtail freedom of expression during COVID-19

Détention d'un défenseur des droits de l'homme et acquittement en appel d'un journaliste condamné

Le 5 mai 2020 la Cour d'appel de N'Djamena a infirmé la décision d'un tribunal de première instance qui avait condamné le journaliste Martin Inoua Doulguet à une peine de trois ans de prison et à des amendes et dommages-intérêts élevés le 23 septembre 2019. Selon ses avocats, la cour d'appel a conclu qu'il y avait eu des « vices de procédure » et a reproché au tribunal de première instance d'avoir poursuivi le journaliste selon les dispositions du Code pénal, en violation de la loi régissant la presse au Tchad. Read more

Détention d'un défenseur des droits de l'homme et acquittement en appel d'un journaliste condamné