to go further March 6, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government leaned on judicial system in media holding case Help by sharing this information News Organisation Receive email alerts April 2, 2021 Find out more Related documents cp_tu_rkiye_06-03-2014-2.pdfPDF – 66.65 KB April 28, 2021 Find out more News TurkeyEurope – Central Asia (Photos: AFP Photo / Prime Minister Press Office / Kayhan Ozer) TurkeyEurope – Central Asia News Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law RSF_en News Read in Turkish / TürkçeReporters Without Borders is deeply shocked to learn of government interference in a series of prosecutions in 2009 against Dogan Holding, a conglomerate that owns many leading news media.Telephone recordings leaked on 3 March show that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then justice minister Sadullah Ergin intervened directly in these proceedings, which resulted in Dogan being ordered to pay an astronomical fine of more than 3 billion Turkish pounds (more than 1 billion euros).“The many revelations in recent weeks about direct government pressure on media owners were already very serious,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “But these latest recordings confirm that the government also tried to use the judicial system in its fight against critical media. The casual manner in which the prime minister has admitted doing this is extraordinary, as it so obviously flouts the principle of the separation of powers.“This information is all the more disturbing for involving a key case. Dogan Holding’s conviction in 2009 set off a wave of self-censorship, the scale of which could be seen during last year’s Gezi Park protests. The use of government influence to obtain this decision from the judicial system constitutes an extremely grave violation of freedom of information.”Deloire added: “The government must explain itself in a clear manner on this subject and must undertake to henceforth respect both media and judicial independence.”A leading caseAs well as owning companies in many other sectors of the economy, Dogan Holding is one of Turkey’s leading media groups, owning the Hürriyet daily newspaper, the CNN Türk TV channel and the DHA news agency. Several of its media were well known for being critical of the Erdogan government.When Dogan was convicted on a series of tax fraud charges in 2009, media freedom groups were unanimous in condemning the disproportionate size of the fine, which would have bankrupted Dogan and dealt a major blow to media pluralism in Turkey.Most of the fine was forgiven after negotiations between the government and Dogan. But, at the same time, several editors of the most critical media were replaced and many journalists resigned in protest against growing self-censorship. Dogan went on to reduce its media holdings, selling the Milliyet and Vatan newspapers and Star TV.Government interferenceIn the first of the recordings posted on YouTube on 3 March, what is said to be the prime minister’s voice can be heard urging the justice minister to “closely follow” the trial “of crucial importance” and to ensure that Dogan is convicted.In another recording, a voice said to be the justice minister’s reassures the prime minister, telling him that a definitive decision will be reached on appeal and that he will talk to the appeal court’s president to “ensure that he acts with sensitivity.” This voice also says that “nearly 2,000 friends” of the government have infiltrated the judicial system.Although the justice minister has disputed the authenticity of the recordings, the prime minister had not. On the contrary, he has defended the government’s intervention in the case, claiming that he had “very dangerous information” about Dogan at the time and that it was involved in “parallel structures and dirty relationships.”Yesterday, Erdogan said it “natural” and “necessary” that he should have asked his justice minister to follow the case closely. Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Follow the news on Turkey Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit April 2, 2021 Find out more
June 8, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders today condemned the presence of large numbers of security personnel inside the offices of newspapers in Kathmandu and the prior control they are exercising over news reports. The press freedom organization also requested the release of detained journalists and an end to the harassment of the families of those journalists who have gone into hiding to avoid arrest.After banning the publication of any criticism for six months, the royal palace today issued a new series of directives banning negative reports about the security forces under pain of imprisonment or house arrest. The military have also been granted the authority to monitor and ban any communication as part of the state of emergency.Despite certain concessions that should allow provincial newspapers to resume publishing, the army is continuing to impose drastic measures on the press. The secretary-general of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), Bishnu Nisthuri, was arrested at his home in Kathmandu on 4 February while police have taken up position around the FNJ’s office in the capital.But contrary to earlier reports, neither FNJ president Tara Nath Dahal nor K. C. Netra, the BBC World Service’s correspondent in the southwestern town of Nepalgunj, has been arrested. Dahal’s family has, however, reportedly been harassed by the army.Local FM re-transmission of the BBC World Service’s Nepalese-language programmes has been banned but the BBC’s English-language broadcasts are permitted. The privately-owned TV station Nepal One is still banned from broadcasting and its studios are being watched by the military. Indian cable and satellite TV stations are still unavailable. BBC World and CNN television programmes are permitted, but they are censored whenever they refer to the situation in Nepal. Most of the independent weeklies in Kathmandu, including Budhabar, are closed.Five dailies and a dozen weeklies have been closed in Nepalgunj but an army officer told the editors they would be able to resume publishing soon. Newspapers in the western town of Butwal have prepared an issue for today, after being closed for a week. Army officers asked journalists to publish news “honouring the spirit of the royal proclamation.”In Chitawan (southwest of Kathmandu), newspapers were also due to reappear today after negotiations with the military authorities.The censorship has done away with all independent reporting. A Nepalese newspaper editor quoted by The Times of India said he had never seen such censorship. “One could test the limits in the past by writing something provocative but now we have received clear warnings to do nothing against the interests of the current regime,” he said. Nonetheless, the Kantipur and Kathmandu Post dailies today ran editorials calling on the king to restore press freedom.To offset the lack of news, an underground bulletin called Jana Awaj, reproducing reports from the BBC and Indian press, was being circulated in Butwal.As a result of the enforced blackout, 28 journalists were reportedly fired by Radio Kantipur FM. Staff with the Kantipur group’s print media could also be affected. February 8, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 King takes further measures against press freedom News May 29, 2019 Find out more Nepalese journalists threatened, attacked and censored over Covid-19 coverage NepalAsia – Pacific NepalAsia – Pacific Follow the news on Nepal News to go further Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information Organisation News Under Chinese pressure, Nepal sanctions three journalists over Dalai Lama story Nepal: RSF’s recommendations to amend controversial Media Council Bill News RSF_en May 17, 2019 Find out more
RSF denounces Total’s retaliation against Le Monde for Myanmar story Help by sharing this information FranceEurope – Central Asia Organisation “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says May 10, 2021 Find out more It is with great sadness that Reporters Without Borders learned of the death yesterday of the former president of its French section, Pierre Veilletet, at the age of 69. For many years Pierre was engaged in the press freedom organization’s battles. He had been a member of its board since it was founded and chaired the French section from 2003 to 2009. Born on 2 October 1943 in Momuy in the Landes department of south-west France, he began his career with the daily Sud-Ouest in 1968 and remained closely involved with the newspaper. He was promoted to senior reporter and in 1975 wrote a series of articles on the dying days of the Franco era in Spain, for which he was awarded the Albert-Londres prize. In 1979 he was appointed editor of the Sunday edition of Sud-Ouest and the same year he founded Les Cahiers de la Corrida, a magazine for fans of bullfighting. A devotee of the region’s culture, Pierre also had a career as an author in parallel with his duties as Sud-Ouest editor, a post he held until May 2000. His first novel, “La Pension des Nonnes” published in 1986, won the François-Mauriac prize. He was a meticulous and noted writer who espoused high-quality journalism. As a member of the French Press Council steering committee (APCP), he was among those who launched a code of professional ethics and standards. Reporters Without Borders honours his memory and expresses its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. June 4, 2021 Find out more News January 9, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Pierre Veilletet, former chairman of Reporters Without Borders France, dies aged 69 June 2, 2021 Find out more News FranceEurope – Central Asia News RSF_en Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU to go further News Receive email alerts Follow the news on France
October 1, 2020 Find out more News Three journalists — Giga Chikhladze, correspondent of Russian Newsweek and head of Alania TV, Alexander Klimchuk, head of the photo agency Caucasus Press Images and correspondent for the news agency Itar-Tass, and Stan Storimans, cameraman for the Dutch TV station RTL-4 – have been killed since fighting began in Georgia on 8 August. The death of a fourth journalist, a Georgian, and his driver, reportedly in the bombing of Gori on 12 August, has not been confirmed. The bodies of Chikhladze and Klimchuk were brought back to Tbilisi over the weekend with the financial help of Reporters Without Borders, which has also given money to their families. Four Turkish journalists — Hilmi Hacaloglu, Cumhur Catkaya, Güray Ervin and Levent Öztürk – working for TV stations NTV and Kanal Türk, were caught in gunfire from Soujth Ossetian militiamen as they drove to Tskhinvali on 11 August. The all-news station NTV showed film they shot while trapped and wounded in their jeep. The militiamen stopped shooting when the journalists identified themselves at a distance. Watch the video. The four flew back to Istanbul on 13 August. Cameraman Öztürk, injured in the left eye, and reporter Ervin, who had been driving and was slightly wounded in the shoulder, were treated at Istanbul’s German hospital where the Reporters Without Borders correspondent visited them. Öztürk has been released from intensive care and will have further tests but will probably lose his eye. “When I was hit, my eye went and I knew something bad had happened,” he said. “A few minutes later I was able to contact the others. We all kept calm but the shooting continued. It’s a miracle we’re still alive.”Cameraman Catkaya was not hit but his camera was. “It probably saved my life,” he said when he arrived in Istanbul. Tamara Urushadze, correspondent of the state-owned Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB), was slightly wounded in the arm by sniper fire while reporting on 15 August.Tzadok Yehezkeli, of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, broke his leg in several places when he was caught in the Russian bombing of Gori on 12 August. He was operated on at Tibilisi’s Ghudushauri hospital and is out of danger. A group of Israeli journalists was stopped by Russian soldiers in Gori on 14 August. Tzur Sheizaf, of the news website Ynetnews (the online version of Yedioth Ahronoth), was taking pictures near a Russian army checkpoint on the edge of Gori when a soldier stopped him and fired in the air, causing civilian panic. He demanded the keys of the vehicle carrying Sheizaf and three colleagues. Organisation Receive email alerts Three journalists — Giga Chikhladze, correspondent of Russian Newsweek and head of Alania TV, Alexander Klimchuk, head of the photo agency Caucasus Press Images and correspondent for the news agency Itar-Tass, and Stan Storimans, cameraman for the Dutch TV station RTL-4 – have been killed since fighting began in Georgia on 8 August. At least five journalists attacked while covering Georgia’s election campaign RSF_en News GeorgiaEurope – Central Asia Sheizaf tried to get back in the vehicle but the soldier pushed him away, fired several shots at the ground in front of the journalist, ordered the other three to get out and drove off in the vehicle. It was returned to them half an hour later with their belongings and passports intact. “By chance, the theft was seen by a Russian commander who disapproved of it,” Sheizaf said. Several media outlets have been ransacked during the fighting. Radio station Atinati went off the air on 13 August after the Russian army destroyed its antenna on the Urta hills, near Zugdidi. Station chief Gia Khasia said troops had taken away all its transmission equipment. Atinati broadcasts in Russian and Georgian with an audience in Abkhazia. It got back on the air using other equipment but with limited range. Russian troops also ransacked the TV station Ergisi, in Senaki, 30 kms from Zugdidi, stealing several video cameras and computers. The station has not been able to resume broadcasting. Lasha Berulava, correspondent for radio station Imedi and the news agency Interpress News, and Murad Partsvania, of the TV station Odishi, were arrested and held for several hours by the Russian army at the Tskemi military base, in the Abasha region. GeorgiaEurope – Central Asia читать на русском June 18, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Georgia News News to go further Mounting pressure on Georgia’s media in run-up to elections Concern about alleged plot to murder Georgian TV host August 18, 2008 – Updated on August 8, 2018 Three journalists killed since start of fighting, dozens injured and arrested Help by sharing this information July 20, 2020 Find out more
News RSF asks authorities, opposition to guarantee reporters’ safety during Kyrgyzstan protests KyrgyzstanEurope – Central Asia Reporters Without Borders condemns an attack of unprecedented violence on journalist Syrgak Abdyldaev of the independent weekly Reporter Bishkek yesterday evening in the street outside the newspaper’s office in Bishkek. As he was leaving, four men got out of a car and stabbed him 21 times. They also broke both of his hands, his forearms and ribs.He was rushed to a hospital intensive care unit where, despite losing a lot of blood, his condition is now stable. He is expected to undergo two major operations in the next few days.“The attack on Abdyldaev is appalling and confirms the climate of extreme hostility towards the press that prevails in Kyrgyzstan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities say they are investigating, but that is not enough. We insist that everything possible is done to shed light on this serious assault. Those responsible must be tried and punished.”Reporter Bishkek is one of the few independent Kyrgyz newspapers publishing reports and editorials critical of the government. Its latest issue, published on 27 February, had two articles on the country’s political and economic situation. One of them, co-authored by the editor, referred to the possibility that President Kurmanbek Bakiyev could win another term in elections expected to be held in the autumn.Kyrgyzstan was ranked 111th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Eighteen months after independent journalist Alisher Sayipov, the publisher of the newspaper Sayasat, was gunned down in the southern city of Osh in October 2007, neither the perpetrators nor the instigators of his murder have been identified. Follow the news on Kyrgyzstan News News Receive email alerts RSF calls for the immediate release of Uzbek journalist Organisation October 9, 2020 Find out more to go further Help by sharing this information RSF_en August 26, 2020 Find out more RSF is concerned about the fate of an Uzbek journalist extradited by Kyrgyzstan News March 4, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist narrowly survives after being stabbed 21 times KyrgyzstanEurope – Central Asia August 14, 2020 Find out more
News Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today on learning that Marcos Perales Mendoza, the editor of La Portada, an investigative monthly based in Barrancabermeja (in the northern department of Santander), has been forced to flee the region by the death threats he has been getting since May 2005 in response to his articles about local corruption.He finally decided to leave after getting a message on 22 July warning him that he would be the target of an attack in a month’s time. His present location is being kept secret for security reasons.“Perales is the latest of a total of six journalists in Colombia who have had to flee the area where they work since the start of the year, and the situation is getting more and more critical for local media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The government and judicial authorities must react by quickly moving against politicians who think the mandate they got from their voters guarantees their impunity,” the organisation added. “The parties to Colombia’s civil war are not the only ones responsible for these threats and attacks on the news media.”With a circulation of 5,000, La Portada has specialized in denouncing local government corruption, sometimes naming the officials allegedly involved. Last month, Perales exposed irregularities in the assignment of a public works contract for the building of an aqueduct in Barrancabermeja. As result, the local prosecutor’s office ordered the municipal authorities to cancel the contract.On 22 July, Perales received a e-mail offer of flowers for his funeral. The message said Barrancabermeja’s mayor, Edgar Cote, would complete his term and added that Perales would not be around to know who the next mayor was.Perales said he has been the target of intimidation each time he has published an article on a sensitive issue since May 2005. The first time he received a bag containing the photos of three bodies and a message put together with letters cut from newspapers that said: “Leave the mayor alone or you will end up like this.”He filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office at the time but is not aware of any progress being made in the investigation. He has received three other e-mail threats since the start of this year. His family has also been the target of intimidation and intruders broke into his home, making it look like a burglary.Journalists based in Barrancabermeja told Reporters Without Borders that Cote is a controversial mayor with many enemies within the municipal council. His supporters recently disrupted a news conference organised by a number of municipal councillors, breaking down the doors and putting Xs on the faces of some the councillors in a photo. RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America Receive email alerts News Reports April 27, 2021 Find out more News RSF_en July 28, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Sixth journalist forced to flee since start of year Organisation May 13, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Colombia Help by sharing this information ColombiaAmericas 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombia ColombiaAmericas to go further October 21, 2020 Find out more
RSF_en United StatesAmericas May 20, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Six French journalists arrested and deported from the United States Organisation News WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Follow the news on United States News Receive email alerts Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Reporters Without Borders today protested against the detention of six French journalists on arrival a week ago at Los Angeles international airport to cover a video games trade show and their forcible repatriation after being held at the airport for more than 24 hours.”These journalists were treated like criminals – subjected to several body searches, handcuffed, locked up and fingerprinted,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard complained in a letter to the US ambassador to Paris, Howard Leach.Ménard urged the ambassador to press for an investigation and to ensure that the journalists will have no problems the next time they travel to the United States. He also suggested that it should be clarified whether or not journalists travelling to the United States need a specific press visa. “As things stand, the decisions taken by airport security officials appear to have been arbitrary if not discriminatory,” Ménard said in his letter.The six journalists arrived at Los Angeles airport in two groups a day apart. The first group consisted of Alexandre Alfonsi of Télé 7 Jours, Stéphanie Pic of Télé Poche and Michel Perrot of TV Hebdo, who arrived at 2 p.m. on 10 May without press visas. Pic and Perrot passed through immigration without any problem, but Alfonsi was denied access to US territory on the grounds that he lacked the required visa.Pic and Perrot tried in vain to find out from airport officials what had happened to their colleague. All three journalists were then detained and held for a total of 26 hours, which included a night in the cells of a US immigration detention centre.They were subjected to interrogation sessions and six body searches. They were handcuffed while being moved from one place to another, and they were fingerprinted. One official told Alfonsi he would not be able to return to the United States again. They were put on a flight for France at around 4 p.m. the next day and were not able to recover their passports until the aeroplane made a stopover in Amsterdam.The other group, which suffered an almost identical fate, consisted of Thierry Falcoz, editor in chief of Game One cable television, and two of his cameramen, Laurent Patureau and Alex Gorsky. They arrived at Los Angeles international airport at around 3 p.m. on 11 May. Falcoz and Gorsky passed through immigration without a problem but Patureau was stopped by an official who said he needed a press visa.When Patureau’s two colleagues protested, all three were detained. After being held for nine hours in an airport waiting room they were taken to a US immigration detention centre where they were held overnight in a cell. They were subjected to repeated body searches and interrogation. They were handcuffed when taken from one place to another, and they were fingerprinted. Finally, they were put on a flight back to France at around 6 p.m. the next day. Help by sharing this information NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say April 28, 2021 Find out more June 7, 2021 Find out more United StatesAmericas to go further June 3, 2021 Find out more News News Six French journalists on their way to cover a video gamestrade fair were detained at Los Angeles airport and sent back to Franceafter being held for more than 24 hours. Reporters Without Borders iscalling for an enquiry into the incident.
Follow the news on Iran News IranMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information RSF_en June 9, 2021 Find out more News IranMiddle East – North Africa Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Receive email alerts July 22, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Renewed call for independent investigation after release of unsatisfactory official enquiry to go further Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 The findings of an official Iranian enquiry into the death in custody of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian origin, were today dismissed as totally unsatisfactory by Reporters Without Borders, which reiterated its call for an independent investigation into her death after she was detained in Tehran on 23 June.The organisation said the report released yesterday did nothing to establish who was responsible for Kazemi’s death. It did not say if the blow to the head that resulted in her death occurred when she was struck with a blunt object or if she hit an object when she fell. The report said only that the blow occurred no more than 36 hours before her hospitalisation at midnight on 27 June. According to the sequence of events established by the enquiry, this could have been when was in the custody of the office of Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi or in the custody of the intelligence ministry.Reporters Without Borders said it was shocked to learn that the doctors in Baghiatollah hospital had established that Kazemi was “brain dead” on 27 June. The report does not say why the doctors waiting until 10 July, the day after the anniversary of the July 1999 student demonstrations, to report her death.The organisation called for light to be shed on every aspect of this case and said those who killed Kazemi, as well as those who may have instigated her murder, should be identified and punished, no matter how high their positions.Reporters Without Borders has already asked the authorities in Tehran to allow an autopsy on Kazemi’s body to be carried in Canada by independent forensic doctors, as requested from the outset by her son, Stéphane Kazemi, who lives in Canada. Kazemi’s parents in Iran now also say they would like this.The organisation also believes that the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, whose visit to Tehran has just been cancelled by the Iranian authorities, should be allowed to travel to Iran as soon as possible.At the same time, the organisation urged the Canadian authorities to support these demands and make no concessions to pressure from the Iranian authorities. The organisation has supported Stéphane Kazemi’s initiatives by providing him with the help of an Iranian lawyer who lives in Tehran, Namat Ahmadi.The lack of information about Kazemi’s death has now been compounded by disturbing and contradictory information about her burial. The authorities said they were refraining from burying Kazemi while awaiting the results of the enquiry. But the Iranian ambassador to Paris, Seyed Sadegh Kharazi, told a Reporters Without Borders delegation she was buried on 13 or 14 July at the request of her parents who still live in Iran. It has not however been possible to establish exactly where she was buried.Kazemi’s arrest on 23 June occurred as she was photographing Evin prison north of Tehran. On 27 June, she was handed in a critical condition to officials of the intelligence ministry. The authorities then informed her family she was in a coma at the Baghiatollah military hospital in Tehran, which is run by Revolutionary Guards. Meanwhile, police searched her family’s home following her arrest, confiscating a large amount of money and camera equipment.Twenty-one journalists are currently in prison in Iran, which makes the Islamic republic the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East. Thirteen of them were arrested in the past 40 days. They include Abolgasem Golbaf of the monthly Gozaresh, who was detained on 20 July for “disseminating false information.” As far as Reporters Without Borders has been able to establish, 15 of the imprisoned journalists are currently being held by Revolutionary Guards in the same place where Kazemi was interrogated. The organisation is very concerned about their fate, especially as their relatives have referred to physical and psychological torture in a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. News After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists Organisation Following the 20 July release of an official report that gave absolutely no indication as to who was responsible for the death in custody of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, Reporters Without Borders renewed its call for an independent enquiry. It also called for an autopsy to be carried out in Canada. News March 18, 2021 Find out more February 25, 2021 Find out more
RSF_en News LaosAsia – Pacific February 13, 2017 Find out more to go further Radio – last bulwark of media freedom and independence Follow the news on Laos LaosAsia – Pacific Website: www.free-falise-and-reynaud.com with online petition Journalists Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud will be publicly tried on 30 June in Phonesavanh (ten hours by road north from Vientiane), their Support Committee has learned. Falise’s wife and Reynaud’s girlfriend, as well as Roland Neveu, representing the Committee, are expected to be able to attend.The French ambassador in Laos, Bernard Pottier, the lawyer for the two journalists, Thivat Vorachak, a Belgian diplomat and a US official, will also be present.The Committee has no assurance that the trial will be impartial. The charges against the pair are not yet known and their right to be legally defended has not been established.The Committee asks Belgian and French diplomats, the international media and human rights organisations to make every effort to attend the trial to see that defence rights are respected and to stress that Falise and Reynaud are journalists.___________________________________________________________________________________________Journalists Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud will be publicly tried on Friday 27 June in Phonesavanh (more than 10 hours by road north from Vientiane), according to diplomatic sources. The charges against them are not yet known. The official enquiry into the case is expected to finish late the previous day.The sources said prison sentences could not be ruled out. A lawyer named by the French embassy is expected to represent them.The Committee set up to support them condemns the holding of the trial in such a remote place as Phonesavan and calls for international standards of justice to be respected at the trial.It also asks Belgian and French diplomats, the international media and human rights organisations to make every effort to attend the trial to see that defence rights are respected and to stress that Falise and Reynaud are journalists.Based on what it knows of the case, the Committee reiterates its belief that the strong accusations against them are groundless.More than 2,000 people, including dozens of journalists and media outlets, have signed the petition for their release.The Committee has set up an emergency fund to help their families. Donations can be sent by cheque to Reporters Without Borders, 5 rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris, France, made out to “RSF” and mentioning the Falise-Reynaud Support Committee. Help by sharing this information Organisation December 10, 2019 Find out more News Open letter to President Choummaly Sayasone Background:Belgian freelance reporter Falise, a regular contributor to the French weekly magazine L’Express, and freelance French cameraman Reynaud were arrested in Xieng Khuang province (northeast of Vientiane) on 4 June 2003 along with the Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a US citizen of Hmong origin, and four Laotians. They were completing a report on the plight of the Hmong minority. French diplomats were able to visit them on 16 June and said they were in good health. Two days later, Falise’s wife was able to see her husband for five minutes and said he had got thinner. Reynaud’s girlfriend was allowed to visit the cameraman on 23 June. News Young Laotian blogger gets five years in prison June 27, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Trial postponed until 30 June News Receive email alerts June 23, 2006 Find out more
News Download the full versionArabic version Middle East – North Africa to go further RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance News Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 June 3, 2021 Find out more News Middle East – North Africa News Follow the news on Middle East – North Africa Receive email alerts June 8, 2021 Find out more June 9, 2021 Find out more January 25, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Middle-East/North Africa RSF_en Help by sharing this information Organisation WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Arab uprisings and their impact on the press freedom indexThe Arab uprisings and the measures taken by governments to control news and information in response to the uprisings had a major impact on the ranking of countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa. From Morocco to Bahrain and Yemen, few countries were spared by this wave of pro-democracy uprisings, which prompted major crackdowns. Some predators of press freedom fell from power, but others remain in place. The transitions that have begun are not necessarily leading towards more pluralism and most of the changes in the rankings have been downward ones. The freedoms that have been won are fragile and could easily be swept away.Countries where revolts led to political changeTunisia rose in the index, from 164th to 134th, because of the end of the harassment of journalists by the Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali regime, the emergence of real pluralism of opinion in the print media and, albeit possibly only for the time being, the end of massive and systematic Internet filtering. The recent appointments of persons with links to the old regime to run the state-owned media underscored the danger of a return to the past.Libya has also risen in the index, but to a lesser degree, going from 160th to 154th. After the Libyan uprising began in February, there was an explosion in the number of media, above all in the east of the country. The new pluralist enthusiasm spread to the west after the liberation of Tripoli at the end of August. Newspapers and radio and TV stations have sprouted like mushrooms. But Libya’s ranking reflects the many abuses against journalists during the civil war. If democratization continues and if media pluralism and independence take a lasting hold, Libya’s ranking will improve over the next few years.Countries where repression continues and changes are just cosmeticMost of the region’s countries have fallen in the index because of the measures taken in a bid to impose a news blackout on a crackdown. Egypt plummeted 39 places (from 127th last year to 166th this year) because of the attempts by Hosni Mubarak’s government and then the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to rein in the revolution’s successive phases. The hounding of foreign journalists for three days at the start of February, the interrogations, arrests and convictions of journalists and bloggers by military courts, and the searches without warrants all contributed to Egypt’s dramatic fall in the index.The Kingdom of Bahrain (173rd) plunged 29 places to become one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries. Bahraini and foreign journalists were systematically hounded from February onwards. An entire arsenal of measures were taken to prevent information circulating about the evolving situation in the country. At the same time, the authorities made extensive use of the media to put out pro-government propaganda. The creation of an independent commission of enquiry did not end the abuses against journalists. It just helped to ensure that, as a result of the undertakings given by the authorites, the rest of the world stopped talking about Bahrain.Yemen fell just one place (from 170th to 171st) despite all the violence used by the security forces against demonstrators and journalists covering the demonstrations. But the media freedom situation was already very worrying and Yemen had already fallen 16 places since 2008, when a sharp deterioration began. A Gulf Cooperation Council plan under which President Ali Abdallah Saleh was supposed to stand down, which he signed on 23 November, did not change the internal situation, far from it. Syria, which had already attained a very low ranking in recent years, fell a bit more, from 173rd to 176th place, on the brink of become one of the bottom three. The situation in Syria had an impact on neighbouring Lebanon, where the government provided the Syrian authorities with a degree of cooperation in their attempts to track down dissident Syrian journalists and bloggers who had fled to Lebanon.Saudi Arabia fell only one place (from 157th to 158th) although the government organized a news blackout on the demonstrations and ensuing crackdown in the eastern regions with a Shiite majority. But Saudi Arabia had already been very low in the index because of the lack of pluralism and high level of self-censorship.Countries that relapsedAfter rising in the index for several years in a row, Iraq fell 22 places this year, from 130th to 152nd (almost to the position it held in 2008, when it was 158th). There were various reasons. The first was an increase in murders of journalists. Hadi Al-Mahdi’s murder on 8 September marked a clear turning point. Another reason was the fact that journalists are very often the target of violence by the security forces, whether at demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, or in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region that had for many years offered a refuge for journalists.As regards its internal situation, Israel fell six places (from 86th to 92nd) for two reasons. Firstly, Haaretz reporter Uri Blau is facing a possible seven-year jail sentence for possessing classified documents and his source, Anat Kam, was sentenced to three years in prison on 31 October. Secondly, on 21 November, parliament approved a media bill on first reading that would drastically increase the amount of damages that can be awarded in defamation cases. In general, although Israel enjoys real media pluralism, it is not in the top 50 countries in the Reporters Without Borders index because the media are subject to prior military censorship.The Palestinian Territories fell three places because of attacks on journalists during demonstrations by Palestinians calling for an end to the war between Fatah and Hamas, and because of an illegal takeover by Hamas supporters of the journalists’ union in Gaza City.Countries that fell againThe United Arab Emirates fell again, this time from 87th to 112th, above all because of its Internet filtering policy and the imprisonment of Ahmed Mansoor, a blogger who administers the online pro-democracy forum Al-Hewar (“The Dialogue”), from 8 April to 28 November along with four other activists, known collectively as “The UAE 5.” He was reportedly mistreated while detained and his family was repeatedly threatened.The media freedom situation has not changed intrinsically in Jordan but police violence against journalists and repeated deliberate attacks on the Agence France-Presse bureau in Amman caused it to fall eight places in the index, from 120th to 128th.Morocco fell again, this time from 135th to 138th, as a result of Al-Massae editor Rachid Nini’s imprisonment. He is still detained. Algeria, on the other hand, rose again, this time 11 places, from 133rd to 122nd, above all because of a fall in the number of trials of journalists.