Europe and Central Asia - IFEX Member Campaigns
IFEX members support the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union's draft law to decriminalise libel and defamation of public officials
Members of the IFEX network and other concerned organisations demand justice for wrongful imprisonment of Mohammed Ismael Rasaool
Sport for Rights considers the charges against investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to be connected to her exposure of corruption among the ruling Azerbaijani elite.
The Sport for Rights coalition condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing of Azerbaijani human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus on 13 August by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.
One year ago, on July 30, 2014, human rights defender Leyla Yunus was arrested and charged with treason, fraud, forgery, tax evasion, and illegal entrepreneurship. Her arrest marked the start of a period of unprecedented repression in Azerbaijan.
Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev was shot dead on 9 July 2013 as he left for work in Makhachkala, Dagestan. He had actively reported on human rights violations against Muslims by the police and Russian army.
"Quick to praise President Ilham Aliyev's preparation for the inaugural European Games, the EOC leadership has so far maintained a public silence in the face of serious abuse and repression by Azerbaijan's government against its critics."
A defamation reform bill pending before the Lithuanian Parliament would constitute a welcome step in the right direction, but should be further amended to meet international standards, the International Press Institute (IPI) and Article 19 said, following a joint two-day mission to Lithuania.
The introduction of this law only two months after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is seen as an attempt to broaden surveillance powers under the guise of preventing terrorism.
Following the pre-trial detention of prominent journalist Khadija Ismayilova, civil society groups call upon the Council of Europe to suspend Azerbaijan from its membership until Azerbaijani authorities drop all charges against NGO representatives, lawyers and journalists currently in detention.
Belarusian authorities are being called upon to drop charges against journalists who were accused by the police of holding an unauthorized action. The charges were brought against the group after they took a picture in Vitebsk to support the European Federation of Journalists' Stand Up For Journalism Day.
On 30 October a Baku court sentenced opposition journalist Khalid Garayev to 25 days in detention on trumped-up charges of hooliganism and disobeying the police.
Against the backdrop of the unprecedented crackdown on civil society, Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest on criminal defamation charges seems imminent and would confirm the authorities’ intent to silence all critical voices in the country.
Civil society groups call for an end to repression of IFEX member the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, and urge UNESCO to take action to ensure free expression in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has been providing leadership in the Council of Europe since last month, promoting and protecting human rights standards in Europe and beyond. In the meantime, back home, arbitrary arrest, torture and unfair trials are widespread.
The undersigned organisations believe that a balanced and effective international copyright framework should support robust discussion of exceptions and limitations to copyright, as well as protections for creators.
In the lead-up to the Council's chairmanship, there has been a rise in harassment of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Azerbaijan. Official intimidation tactics have included the levying of heavy fines on CSOs for petty administrative lapses and the denial of permission to civil society groups to hold meetings in public spaces.
A Serbian media coalition denounces local governments who have been abusing public procurement procedures in order to give money to “appropriate” media outlets, completely disregarding the interest of the public and the needs of the local community for unbiased, timely and complete information.
Azerbaijan's human rights record is inconsistent with standards embraced by the pan-European human rights organisation, the Council of Europe, and so its chairmanship, which will start in May, risks undermining the integrity of the institution's human rights principles.
. . .
Azerbaijan should promptly revise its libel laws to meet international standards for freedom of expression and the media, the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and Media Rights Institute (MRI) said on 12 March 2014.