NEWS
Mapping Media Freedom: In review 25 November-1 December
02 Dec 2016
BY CAMERON OCHSE

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.

Turkey detains BBC Turkey and Voice of America correspondent

Hatice Kamer (Photo: BBC)

Hatice Kamer (Photo: BBC)

Hatice Kamer, also known as Khajijan Farqin, is a freelance journalist for BBC Turk and Voice of America. She was detained in Diyarbakir on 26 November while reporting on a landslide that killed at least ten workers in a copper mine.

Kamer was taken into custody in Siirt province at a police checkpoint; reasons for her detention remain unclear. Due to the state of emergency declared in Turkey, even the journalist’s attorney was unable to contact her.

On 27 November Kamer was released after spending a night in jail. She was told she would face charges of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) through her reporting. The journalist states there is no evidence of supporting the outlawed party through her work.

The Netherlands: Journalist hit during clash at anti-Black Pete demonstration

Dutch-American journalist Kevin Roberson, owner of the online news portal Roberson Report, was attacked at an anti-Black Pete demonstration in Utrecht.

Black Pete is a character in Dutch folklore said to be a servant to Saint Nicholas. The character is often portrayed by a white person in blackface and has become subject to controversy in the Netherlands, many claiming the inclusion of the character in Sinterklaas traditions is racist.

At the event, a group of Black Pete defenders emerged, identifying themselves as members of the alt-right movement Nederlandese Volks-Unie (NVU).

One of the members attacked Roberson from behind, hitting him on the head and neck then running away. Roberson posted the video online. The journalist told Mapping Media Freedom that he is fearing for his safety. “My home address is circulating in right-wing social media groups,” Roberson stated, “I don’t feel safe anymore.”

Roberson is pressing charges against the attacker.

Ukraine: Two independent Russian TV reporters detained and expelled from Donetsk

On 25 November, Russian TV channel Dozhd reported that two of its correspondents, Sergei Polonsky and Vasiliy Yerzhenkov, were detained by intelligence agencies in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Dozhd reported that, “Three employees of the Ministry of State Security were involved in the interrogation. They watched videos and deleted them. They also blocked Polonsky’s phone, broke Yerzhenkov’s phone and destroyed his notebook.”

Polonsky stated that they did not receive physical abuse, only psychological. The reporters were told that the reason for their detention was “false information” in their accreditation, but Polonsky proved that the information was correct.

Yerzhenkov and Polonsky were in the region to interview Alexey Khodakovsky after receiving permission from the Security Service of Ukraine and the ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The two reporters are now banned from entering the area after giving “biased” and “provocative” reports on Donetsk.

Macedonia: Public broadcaster crew verbally harassed during political rally

At a rally for the main Macedonian opposition party, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), a TV journalist and cameraperson for the Macedonian TV channel MTV 1 were insulted by party supporters.

In Tetovo, this was not the first time an incident like this occurred. “We would like to emphasise that this is not the first time our journalists have been insulted during an SDSM rally,” an MTV 1 report stated, “Our journalists are being blocked from fulfilling their professional duties.”

The reporters were harassed, insulted and spat on as they attempted to report from the rally. The SDSM condemned the incident, saying they were against any negative treatment of the media regardless of its beliefs.

Russia: TV crew assaulted in Moscow

A film crew for REN TV in Moscow was assaulted after investigating fraud at a candle company. According to the clients, the company was offering candle-making lessons which clients would pay for, but the company would take the money and leave the clients without lessons.

While speaking to the director of the company, the crew was attacked by him after he blocked one of the cameramen and pushed reporter Dariya Ermakova to the ground. The incident was caught on video by one of the other cameramen.

Ermakova filed a report to the police who are currently investigating.


Mapping Media Freedom


Click on the bubbles to view reports or double-click to zoom in on specific regions. The full site can be accessed at https://mappingmediafreedom.org/


Spain: “Purge” at state-owned RTVE following political pressure

The reform of Spanish public television and radio RTVE exposes how political interests dominate the corporation

Austria: A nation shrouded in secrecy

In an email sent to all regional police departments on 24 September 2018, Austria’s Ministry of the Interior suggested limiting communication with “certain media outlets”, including the weekly news magazine Falter and the daily newspaper Der Standard

No impunity: Who killed journalist Pavel Shemeret?

Before his death, Pavel Sheremet was one of Ukraine’s leading investigative journalists. He most notably investigated government corruption and border smuggling in his native Belarus, leading to his arrest in 1997 but winning him CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award in the process. He was detained, harassed and arrested because of his work. Then, in 2016, he was assassinated. And Ukrainian authorities still have not uncovered who’s to blame.

Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat continues in the spirit of her murdered colleague Daphne Caruana Galizia

On 16 October 2017 Malta’s most important investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta. Three men will stand trial for carrying out the crime but the masterminds remain untouched, rendering Malta an unsafe place for independent journalists. Journalist Caroline Muscat refuses to get distracted by that.

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