access to info. law

Harassment and intimidation of journalists continue unabated

The Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development- CEKOR" is a target of a smear campaign on the phantom portal "Prismotra.net". The text accuses the association and its activists of being informers of foreign services, tasked to work against the interests of Chinese investments in Serbia. The text labels CEKOR as “the economic killers of Serbia”. In addition, during the reporting period journalist faced several verbal threats and insults, including from President Aleksandar Vučić and other ministerial officials. There is a noticeable trend of an increasing number of threats towards journalists. In just one week during August 2020 as many as five cases of attacks on journalists were recorded.
Read more

Harassment and intimidation of journalists continue unabated

Massive restrictions on expression during COVID-19; sudden banning of peaceful opposition

The reporting period was characterised by mass restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association, specifically in relation to the banning of the popular unregistered “Street Party” movement by a court decision in May 2020 after it was labelled as extremist. The reporting period also saw important legislative developments, including changing slander from a criminal to an administrative offence and the corresponding reduction of penalties from prison sentences to fines. However, insult and insulting a government representative remain criminal offences. Read more

Massive restrictions on expression during COVID-19; sudden banning of peaceful opposition

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

Country representative of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Madi Jobarteh was summoned for questioning on 30th June to the Kairaba police station in Serrekunda, in relation to statements he made in an interview during a Black Lives Matter protest he organised on 27th June 2020 in front of the US embassy. That same day, Jobarteh was charged with 'false information and broadcasting' under the Criminal Code, which is punishable with a prison sentence of six months to five years or a fine of 500 to 50,000 dalasis (9.6 to 960 USD), before being released on bail. Read more

Charges against HRD Madi Jobarteh dropped, Gambia closer to an access to information law

New hope for Malawi after sustained protests

Following the court’s nullification of the May 2019 election results on 3rd March 2020, authorities under president Peter Mutharika’s regime embarked on a crackdown of dissenters, critics and the judiciary as the rerun, slated for 23rd June 2020 approached. , the NGO Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs began developing reporting regulations for NGOs. Read more

New hope for Malawi after sustained protests

Press freedom a grave concern during pandemic; attempts to ban gender studies in education

Despite recent political changes, press freedom remains a grave concern in Romania, even more so during COVID-19. As an attempt to counter the spread of coronavirus-related “fake news” online, articles and even entire websites were taken down. Media freedom in the country has declined since the introduction of the state of emergency in mid-March 2020 in the following ways: First, the response time for freedom of information (FOI) requests doubled from a maximum of 30 days to 60 days. Second, it was decided that all official COVID-19-related information would be released from the capital and thus limiting local journalists’ ability to verify any information outside of Bucharest. Third, the government threatened doctors and public servants with criminal charges for releasing any information on the pandemic to the media. However, after press watchdog bodies raised concerns, more information on COVID-19 has been released since. In a separate development a new law has been approved by both houses of the Romanian parliament banning gender identity studies—or “gender ideology”, as termed by right-wing populists—in schools and universities.


Read more

Press freedom a grave concern during pandemic; attempts to ban gender studies in education

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

Commemorative march cancelled due to COVID-19, Residents protest demolition of cultural building, Police arrest 252 people during a politically motivated protest in Yerevan, Concerns over media censorship in guise of COVID-19 restrictions , Civil Society raises concern over draft law on freedom of information, Armenia ranked 61st in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Read more

COVID-19 restrictions affect peaceful assembly, expression

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

Spread of coronavirus and emergency safety measures put pressure on civic freedoms

Across the country, workers deemed essential during the coronavirus emergency staged walk-outs and other protests over insufficient personal protection equipment and to demand benefits such as paid sick leave or healthcare. Read more

Spread of coronavirus and emergency safety measures put pressure on civic freedoms

US-Taliban deal ignores human rights as activists continue to face threats

In recent months, human rights defenders have been detained for exposing child abuse and a political activist was killed by an unknown gunman. It was reported that at least ten journalists had been killed in 2019 while media organisations are calling for the effective implementation of a freedom of information law Read more

US-Taliban deal ignores human rights as activists continue to face threats

Politically motivated trial of Cambodian opposition leader continues despite international pressure

Over the last few months there have been continued attempts by the Hun Sen government to target the opposition. The trial of opposition leader Kem Sokha has begun, while many opposition members have been arrested and charged. The government has also failed to amend the NGO law, and two former RFA journalists continue to face judicial harassment. Read more

Politically motivated trial of  Cambodian opposition leader continues despite international pressure