intimidation

Journalist detained, newspaper ordered to cease its operations

On 29th December 2020, armed security forces detained journalist and editor of the newspaper l’Indépendant Express Carlos Ketohou at his residence in Lomé and he was summoned to appear before the Criminal Investigations Central Service on 30th December 2020. The journalist was held for 4 nights on accusations of defamation and was released on 2nd January 2021 Read more

Journalist detained, newspaper ordered to cease its operations

Media outlets and journalists face a wave of SLAPP suits and hateful attacks

Several protests were staged in relation to the governments COVID-19 response which included protests by restaurant and cafe owners as well as for medium sized businesses. In a concerning development, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND) warned of an upcoming wave of lawsuits against journalists and media workers filed by high-ranking politicians and public personalities. Sites such as Telegram, Index.hr and Virovitica.net are facing several SLAPP suits. In addition, Croatian journalist Anja Kožul was subject to a hate campaign. Read more

Media outlets and journalists face a wave of SLAPP suits and hateful attacks

Skopje court fails to protect journalists as they continue to come under attack

Around 2,000 demonstrators gathered in an anti-government protest, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. The protest, which was staged by supporters of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, was in reaction to an interview of the PM in which he commented on the history between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) condemned the decision of the Basic Civil Court in Skopje after it rejected the lawsuits of two journalists against the alleged violation of their rights by the state. The case centres around the events of the 2017 “Bloody Thursday” at Parliament where journalists were insulted and beaten. The decision comes amid a number of attacks against journalists. Read more

Skopje court fails to protect journalists as they continue to come under attack

President and deputies of the ruling majority in parliament verbally attack journalists

With the formation of the new government and the establishment of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society ceased to exist. A significant part of the competencies in the field of work of the Office will be transferred to the Ministry. The abolition of the Office marks the end of its role to ensure the participation of citizens in the preparation of legal regulations by ministries and local governments. In addition, the entire process was conducted in a non-transparent manner. As reported previously, the phantom portal of “Prismotra” continues to discredit the work of CSOs and individuals working on the protection and promotion of human rights. Journalists continue to face threats and harassment. In the latest cases documented, during a tour of the construction work of a COVID-19 Hospital, the President of Serbia attacked the independence and objectivity of the media. In addition, deputies of the ruling party in Parliament also verbally attacked journalists, branding them as "anti-Serbian". Read more

President and deputies of the ruling majority in parliament verbally attack journalists

Journalists continue to face attacks, death threats during protests against COVID-19 measures

On 18th November 2020, about 5,000 people gathered outside the Bundestag in Berlin to protest against stricter COVID-19 measures. The protest was broken up by the police and 31 protesters were detained. The demonstration fits within a larger wave of protests which have taken place all over the country over the past few months, which includes a protest of more than 20,000 in the eastern city of Leipzig against COVID-19 measures. Journalists continue to face physical attacks, harassment and death threats during coverage of protests against COVID-19 measures. Read more

Journalists continue to face attacks, death threats during protests against COVID-19 measures

While insisting it’s COVID-19 free, Turkmenistan renews efforts to clamp down on dissent

Turkmenistan’s government continued its policy of COVID-19 denial, claiming that the global pandemic had not reached the country, although independent Turkmenistan-covering outlets reported about a growing number of coronavirus infections. The authorities continued to use national, state-controlled media for propaganda purposes, while restricting access to foreign sources of information. Amid growing criticism of Turkmenistan’s government both on- and offline in recent months, the authorities continued to put pressure on outspoken activists living abroad, their relatives in Turkmenistan, and local residents suspected of ties with such activists. The reporting period also saw several new spontaneous protests initiated by residents of Turkmenistan who expressed their resentment at the shortages of basic food items sold at state-subsidised prices, and the shortages of cash at ATMs. Read more

While insisting it’s COVID-19 free, Turkmenistan renews efforts to clamp down on dissent

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

In November 2020, Brazil held countrywide local elections to elect city councillors and mayors. Politically-motivated attacks and assassinations increased by nearly 200 percent in 2020 in comparison to previous years. Read more

Closing civic space in Brazil: censorship, harassment and attacks on journalists and activists

Contested legislative elections in Venezuela amid pandemic

On 7th December 2020, Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and allied parties won 67 percent of the seats in the National Assembly, in legislative elections boycotted by most of the opposition. Read more

Contested legislative elections in Venezuela amid pandemic

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

Election drives people to the streets in the US

Protests swept across the United States as people waited for the results of the 3rd November 2020 election, which had the highest voter turnout in over a hundred years. Read more

Election drives people to the streets in the US