Each week, Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project verifies threats, violations and limitations faced by the media throughout the European Union and neighbouring countries. Here are five recent reports that give us cause for concern.
Russia: Founder and editor-in-chief of local newspaper shot and killed
24 May, 2017 – The body of the well-known editor-in-chief and founder of local newspaper Ton-M was found in the sauna in his backyard on 24 May in the town of Minusinsk in the Krasnodarski province, Regional Investigative Committee reported.
Dmitri Popkov was shot five times by an unidentified perpetrator according to the Regional Investigative Committee.
Popkov funds Ton-M which includes commentary on police corruption, garnering significant public attention for the publication. In an interview with RFE/RL, Popkov claims his newspaper became “an obstacle” for local officials who are now “threatening and intimidating journalists”.
Popkov founded the publication after a court found him guilty of beating a child and he was stripped of his position on Minusinsk City Council in 2012, according to The Moscow Times. Popkov claimed the case was an excuse to fire him.
Outside of the newspaper business, Popkov is recognisable in his region as a regional parliament deputy for the Communist Party.
Azerbaijan: Independent reporter in administrative detention
22 May, 2017 – An independent reporter was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention for allegedly resisting police.
Nijat Amiraslanov is from the Gazakh region and his lawyer and friends say the charges are fictitious. They say he was arrested for his reporting and online posts.
Spain: Reporters and a cameraperson assaulted by dock workers at protest
19 May, 2017 – During a workers’ protest against market liberalisation, dock workers assaulted and intimidated reporters covering the event.
A cameraperson for Canal Sur Television and Antena 3 programme was injured requiring medical assistance at a local hospital after being punched and kicked.
Turkey: Four newspaper employees receive arrest warrants
19 May, 2017 – Four Sözcü employees received arrest warrants after being accused of “committing crimes on behalf of the Fetullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ),” as well as assisting attempts to “assassinate and physically attack the president and armed rebellion against the Government of the Republic of Turkey”.
The issued warrants include the newspaper’s owner Burak Akbay, manager of the newspaper’s website Mediha Olgun, Financial Affairs Manager Yonca Kaleli and the İzmir correspondent Gökmen Ulu. Kaleli was included in the investigation for “suspicious money transfers” for the secular opposition publication.
The charges against the four stemmed from their 15 July 2016, publication of the address and photos of a hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was vacationing.
Yonca Kaleli, Gökmen Ulu and Mediha Olgun have since been detained. Akbay is currently abroad.
France: Head of communication insulted journalist repeatedly
18 May, 2017 – Macron’s head of communication insulted journalist Yann Barthès of Quotidien on channel TMC during the presidential campaign and now at the Elysee by calling him a “dickhead” and a “mentally-retarded person”, according to Le Monde M magazine.
Macron’s Sylvain Fort commented in reaction to show host Barthè’s coverage of the first round of the presidential election. Fort denies he used the latter phrase.
Quotidien showed Macron celebrating his victory at La Rotonde. Quotidien journalist Paul Larouturou asked Macron whether this episode was the equivalent of Nicolas Sarkozy’s celebration of his presidential victory at Fouquet’s. Macron told the journalist “you don’t understand anything about life”, adding he had “no lesson to receive from a small Parisian milieu”.
The magazine reported that access was restricted to Quotidien team and that Fort contacted Barthès directly to insult him.
Mapping Media Freedom
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