self censorship

A deadly January in Colombia

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) warned that January 2021 had been the most violent start to a year since the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian State in 2016. Read more

A deadly January in Colombia

Journalist killed covering crime scene and several others threatened in Mexico

On 9th December 2020, Jaime Daniel Castaño Zacarías, a photojournalist and editor of PrensaLibreMx, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen after he photographed two dead bodies found on the side of a highway in Jerez, Zacatecas state. Read more

Journalist killed covering crime scene and several others threatened in Mexico

Censoring critical voices: Social media giants fined; journalists, women HRDs behind bars

On 2nd October 2020, the Ministry of Interior announced as part of COVID-19 measures that activities held by NGOs, unions and cooperatives were required to be postponed until 1st December 2020. The Turkish President ordered the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) to be outlawed and its leadership prosecuted, accusing the association of terrorism after it criticised governments response to COVID-19. Several protests were staged by the association over this. In a separate development, after three waves of operations against it, eight women affiliated with Rosa Women’s Association were arrested while eight others were released on probation due to their work on womens rights. The imprisonment of journalist remains a concern with four journalists being detained following their repeated reports on an incident where two Kurdish villagers were allegedly tortured and thrown from a helicopter. In addition, journalist Ayşegül Doğan was convicted for "establishing an armed organisation" and sentenced to six years and three months in prison due to her reporting. In another act of censorship, Turkish authorities imposed fines of 10 million Turkish lira (one million Euros) to social media giants, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for failing to comply with the new social media law. Read more

Censoring critical voices: Social media giants fined; journalists, women HRDs behind bars

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

On 15th October 2020, Nicaragua’s lawmakers approved the “Foreign Agents Law” which expands government powers to control and muzzle civil society. Read more

Laws on Foreign Agents and Cybercrimes restrict civic space further in Nicaragua

Polarisation continues after presidential elections in Bolivia

On 18th October 2020, Luis Arce of Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) was elected president of Bolivia. The vote, which had been twice postponed during the pandemic, was mostly peaceful despite the country’s deep polarisation. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Polarisation continues after presidential elections in Bolivia

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

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

According to the international NGO Freedom House 2020 report Bhutan has made significant strides toward becoming a consolidated democracy, has held multiple credible elections and undergone transfers of power to opposition parties. However, ongoing problems include discrimination against Nepali-speaking and non-Buddhist minorities, media self-censorship and, increasingly, the use of libel and defamation cases to silence journalists. Read more

International watchdog rates Bhutan’s status as ‘partly free’

Climate activists detained; clashes at anti-Islam protest

On 29th August 2020 an anti-Islam protest was staged in Oslo by the Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN), a far-right anti-Islam group. During the protest a member of the group ripped pages out of the Quran (the Islamic holy book) and proceeded to spit on them. A counter demonstration was also staged calling for “no racism on our streets”. Clashes erupted between the groups, with authorities using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the groups and arresting 29 people. In a separate development, on the morning of 21st September 2020, around 40 climate protesters from Extinction Rebellion were arrested in Oslo.
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Climate activists detained; clashes at anti-Islam protest

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Even as coronavirus cases increased in Brazil, President Bolsonaro and government authorities encouraged and attended pro-government demonstrations between April and July 2020. In many cases, protests by government supporters turned anti-democratic, with signs calling for a military coup, the closure of the National Congress and the dissolution of the Federal Supreme Court. Read more

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide