private sector

Concern over media freedom of Central European Media Enterprises after takeover by Czech billionaire

By the end of December 2020, the government had imposed stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus, which has caused public discontent. In this context, several demonstrations against the COVID-19 restrictions took place in the Czech Republic. Press freedom groups have jointly expressed concern over the acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises (CME) by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner in October 2020. CME is a company that develops and produces content for thirty television channels in five Central and Eastern European countries. TV NOVA -- Czech Republic’s largest private TV channel -- is among the channels owned by the CME. Despite CME’s statement in which the company reaffirmed its commitment to independence, pluralism and media freedom, Kellner’s ties with China have raised concerns about media freedom. Read more

Concern over media freedom of Central European Media Enterprises after takeover by Czech billionaire

Government actions spark chilling effects on freedom of expression

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the concern over breach of patient rights continues. Lists of personal data, including names, ages, addresses, occupations and whether the patients are hospitalised or not, are being shared and updated via WhatsApp daily. During 2020, there has been a rise in reported threats in Albania against the media. Three months after the Venice Commission published its opinion regarding the online media law in Albania, civil society and independent media organisations have discovered that the Albanian Government intends to send it to the Albanian Parliament for approval without reflecting the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The legislation aims to create an administrative body that will be empowered to order media to take down news reports over issues such as “infringing the dignity of individuals”, with the threat of heavy fines if they fail to do so. Critics say the law could have a chilling effect on media freedom due to its broad terms. Read more

Government actions spark chilling effects on freedom of expression

Canada: Local and global concerns move people to rally and call on government to take action

On 18th October 2020, hundreds of people rallied in Halifax to express support for Mi'kmaw fishers who are pushing back against commercial fishers’ claims on local lobster fisheries. Read more

Canada: Local and global concerns move people to rally and call on government to take action

Solomons government lacking transparency while groups concerned about mining and logging

The ongoing state of emergency has also resulted in calls by the media for the government to engage with the public. There is also the worry that due to the economic hardship faced by the country, destructive industries such as mining could be pushed forward without public consultation. Two environmental defenders opposing a logging company are also facing jail. Further, the ongoing dispute between the central government and the Malaita provincial government has resulted in protests over a push for a referendum by the province. Read more

Solomons government lacking transparency while groups concerned about mining and logging

Still no accountability for death of Kiribati fisheries observer

Human rights activists are calling for the United Nations to intervene in investigations into the death of a Kiribati fisheries observer. Eritara Aati Kaierua died on board a Taiwanese fishing boat in March 2020. Read more

Still no accountability for death of Kiribati fisheries observer

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Dock workers have been struggling for many years at the hands of the owners of port facilities and there have been many attempts to hinder workers’ unions’ activities. In one attempt, FOZPOR, the company managing the port, failed in bringing charges against the president of SEAL (the dockers’ union), António Mariano, after the court of Coimbra in its pre-trial investigation found that there were no grounds for a trial. Thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against racism at the beginning of June 2020 and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In response to this, for the first time a considerable sized protest of far-right groups was staged three weeks later. Seara – Centro de Apoio Mútuo de Santa Bárbara, a mutual support centre in Lisbon faced eviction by private guards who were assisted by police. It is reported that the guards attacked and intimidated people who were protesting the eviction. Read more

Mutual support centre faces eviction during pandemic; BLM and far-right protests take place

Concerns over space for opposition and dissent ahead of 2020 presidential elections

On 4th August 2019, police offices arrested human rights defender and journalism student Konan Yao Hubert at a bus station in Djékanou, according to Front Line Defenders. Police officers also reportedly physically attacked him when Yao Hubert resisted the arrest when no arrest warrant was presented. Read more  |  Read in French

Concerns over space for opposition and dissent ahead of 2020 presidential elections

Activists, lawyers and critics continue to face harassment and defamation charges in Thailand

In the last few months, there has been harassment against activists, lawyers and government critics from both the state as well businesses while the bones of a disappeared ethnic Karen activist were found. A new report by Human Rights Watch documented cases of peaceful critics who have been prosecuted by the government for the last five years and concerns have been raised about a new anti-fake news center established by the authorities. A study finds that SLAPP or strategic lawsuits against public participation are on the rise. Read more

Activists, lawyers and critics continue to face harassment and defamation charges in Thailand

Concerns about freedom of expression in Nigeria: journalists arrested, protests repressed

According to the Amnesty International report 'Endangered Voices. Attack on Freedom of Expression in Nigeria', at least 19 journalists, bloggers and media practitioners have been subject to attacks between January and September 2019. These range from physical attacks, verbal assaults, death threats, surveillance, indiscriminate detention to pressure to reveal sources, mostly perpetrated by Nigerian security forces. Read more

Concerns about freedom of expression in Nigeria:  journalists arrested, protests repressed

‘Christchurch Call’ to combat online extremism fails to adequately engage civil society

The “Christchurch Call,” a voluntary pledge with commitments aimed at eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online lacked adequate civil society consultation. Thousands of students around the country organised another protest to demand urgent action on climate change while teachers went on strike for better wages and working conditions. Read more

‘Christchurch Call’ to combat online extremism fails to adequately engage civil society