censorship

Organisers take legal action after municipality prevents LGBTI march from going ahead

On 9th June 2021, Belarusian activists in Lithuania organised a rally at a border crossing in Medininkai to block traffic to and from Belarus. The aim of the protest was to put pressure on Belarus and call for stricter EU sanctions. The protest was not authorised by Lithuanian authorities and protesters attempting to block roads were threatened by police and the Lithuanian Border Guard Service (VSAT) with detention and fines. In a separate development, organisers of the first LGBTI Pride march in the city of Kaunas are suing the municipality over its refusal to issue a permit for the event, which is planned to take place on 4th September 2021. Even though the organisers proposed three different routes through the city, they were all rejected due to infrastructure renovation works and the “disproportionate inconvenience” due to traffic disruptions that the protest may cause. Related to LGBTI rights, on 4th June 2021, the National Association of Families and Parents sent a letter to the Lithuanian Radio and Television Council (LRT) complaining that there is too much LGBTI representation and that this “propaganda can no longer be tolerated.” Read more

Organisers take legal action after municipality prevents LGBTI march from going ahead

Chile: Constitutional Convention begins its work

On 15th and 16th May 2021, over 6 million people in Chile voted in the election of 155 members of the Constitutional Convention, the body responsible for drafting a new Constitution for the country. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Chile: Constitutional Convention begins its work

Mass protests over Istanbul convention as women refuse to give up, LGBTI rights targeted again

On 19th June 2021, protesters gathered on the streets of Istanbul to voice their anger at the government’s decision to withdraw from the COE Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention. In a protest related to this, on 21st June 2021, six protesters were detained. In addition, women again took to the streets to protest on 1st July 2021. Police responded by setting up barricades to block protesters and used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. Despite Pride parades being banned for three years in a row, several civil society groups opposed the bans and gathered in Istanbul on 26th June 2021, under the motto “the streets are ours”. They have initiated legal proceedings against the ban and intend to continue planning their events for next year. However, authorities blocked streets, fired tear gas and arrested 25 people at the Pride march in Istanbul. Several journalist, especially women journalists, came under attack during the Pride march.
Read more

Mass protests over Istanbul convention as women refuse to give up, LGBTI rights targeted again

Increasing insecurity in Burkina Faso: mass protests, two journalists, one conservationist killed

On 3rd and 4th July 2021, protests in several localities in Burkina Faso took place against increasing insecurity due to attacks by armed jihadist groups and to demand government action. Opposition and some civil society groups had called for the protests. People gathered in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya, Kaya, Fada N’Gourma and other localities, carrying placards with “No to endless attacks” and “No to the abandonment of populations” Read more  |  Read in French

Increasing insecurity in Burkina Faso: mass protests, two journalists, one conservationist killed

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

On 1st May 2021, newly elected lawmakers took office in the Legislative Assembly after ruling party Nuevas Ideas won a two-thirds majority in February 2021. On their first day, government allies in the Legislative Assembly voted to remove and replace the five judges on the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney-General. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

Twitter banned, proposed Press Council Act amendments further restrict freedom of expression

On 4th June 2021, Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced an indefinite suspension of all operations of social media platform Twitter in the country on grounds of the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The suspension followed the platform’s deletion of a tweet by - and a 12-hour suspension of the Twitter account of - Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari days earlier Read more

Twitter banned, proposed Press Council Act amendments further restrict freedom of expression

A ‘dark day’ for LGBTI rights in Hungary, leading to calls for urgent EU action

The rights of LGBTI persons have come under severe attack amid the pandemic. On 15th June 2021 the Hungarian Parliament passed an anti-LGBTI law which bans education and advertising that is deemed to “popularise” or even depict, consensual same-sex conduct or the affirming of one’s gender to children. The measures have been equated to Russia’s 2013 law against “gay propaganda”. Following this, the European Commission said it will take legal steps against Hungary’s new anti-LGBTI legislation, with President of the commission Ursula von der Leyen calling the bill a “shame”. More than ten months ago the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruled that the Hungarian ‘LexNGO’ law that was in force from 2017 was in breach of EU laws, on 18th May 2021, the Hungarian Parliament repealed it. However, at the same time, the Parliament adopted a new law that threatens the work of NGOs.
Read more

A ‘dark day’ for LGBTI rights in Hungary, leading to calls for urgent EU action

Teenage pro-abortion protesters targeted for participation; “Hungary style takeover” of media

Several concerning developments were documented during this reporting period. Police continue to target women’s rights activists. In April 2021, well-known activist Katarzyna Augustynek was dragged to a police van for painting crosses and hearts in honour of COVID-19 victims in a square in Warsaw. In the most recent attempt to target protesters, charges have been brought against parents who allowed their children to participate in protests. Separately, thousands gathered in Warsaw for a gay pride parade to celebrate LGBTI persons. However, following concerning developments on LGBTI rights in Hungary, where the parliament adopted a law which bans schools from using materials seen as promoting homosexuality, Poland's education minister stated that the country may follow a similar approach to further limit LGBTI rights. In relation to developments in freedom of expression, Warsaw District court temporarily suspended approval for the takeover of Polska Press by PKN Orlen, pending review. However, this has not halted PKN Orlen in editorial interference. Eight editors-in-chief in total have been dismissed or pushed out since Orlen acquired the publishing house in March, with other editors resigning due to “ownership changes”. Read more

Teenage pro-abortion protesters targeted for participation; “Hungary style takeover” of media

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

In recent months attacks on civic space have persisted in Pakistan which is rated as ‘repressed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor. The has been an unrelenting assault on the media, with journalists being attacked, criminalised and taken off the air. A stringent new media law is being proposed that will undermine press freedom and legal amendments have been proposed to criminalise criticism of the military. Leaders of the ethnic Pashtun movement continue to face judicial harassment while the authorities are deliberately stalling the functioning of the national human rights body Read more

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

Canada: Police restricts press access to environmental protests

On 30th April 2021, Canada’s federal government passed back-to-work legislation that essentially ended a strike by Montreal dockworkers, who had been protesting changes to their work schedules which they describe as unfair. Read more

Canada: Police restricts press access to environmental protests