Tag: Free Speech

Pokemon Go Blogger Convicted

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Russia (HRW) – Set Aside Unlawful Verdict on Extremism Charges A Russian court on May 11, 2017, convicted a 22-year-old blogger on criminal charges of incitement of hatred and insult to the religious feelings of believers, Human Rights Watch said today.…

Xi Jinping’s Web of Laws

China (CMP) – IT WAS A BUSY DAY over at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). On May 2, the agency, created in February 2014 to exercise overarching control over the country’s internet and every related enterprise, launched not one but…

Gambia: Arrests, Media Closures as Deadline Nears

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Rights at Risk as Calls for Jammeh’s Exit Intensify

The government of President Yahya Jammeh, defeated in Gambia’s December presidential election, has arbitrarily arrested opposition sympathizers and closed three independent radio stations in the past week, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. Jammeh is required under Gambia’s Constitution to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow by January 19, 2017.

Since December 31, intelligence agents have arrested and briefly detained at least six people for wearing or selling T-shirts bearing the logo of the #Gambiahasdecided movement, which has called for Jammeh to respect the election results and step down. Several senior members of the movement have fled Gambia after receiving credible threats from alleged National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers. On January 1, 2017, intelligence agents forcibly closed three private radio stations, depriving Gambians of independent sources of information during this critical period.

Cambodian Police to Arrest Suspects Accused of Mocking King with Sex Scene

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Cambodian police are on the hunt for three men accused of inserting an image of the country’s king into a gay porn scene, though they have not said what specific law the three violated.

“The king represents the whole nation and they are insulting the king, which is like they are insulting the whole nation,” spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Interior General Khieu Sopheak said as he confirmed an investigation had been launched.

“We have got orders to arrest them,” he said. “If we don’t take action against them, more people might follow their act,” he explained, according to AFP.

Turkey: Journalists, Writers Face Terrorism, Separatism Charges

Trial Begins for Newspaper Advisory Board, Writers, Editors in Istanbul

The prosecution of writers and journalists charged with terrorism and separatism for their association with a newspaper raises serious concerns for freedom of expression in Turkey, Human Rights Watch said today. The first trial hearing begins on December 29, 2016, for four defendants detained since August and five others who are also being tried.

The four jailed defendants are the well-known novelist Aslı Erdoğan, the writer Necmiye Alpay, and newspaper editors İnan Kızılkaya and Zana Kaya. The prosecutor’s indictment accuses the four – and five others who are at liberty – of “spreading propaganda” for and being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and of attempting to destroy the unity of the state. If convicted of the latter offense, they would face life in prison without parole.

Qatar: Independent News Website Blocked

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Further Undermines Media Freedom

Qatari authorities have blocked Doha News, the country’s only independent news website, in a move that undermines Qatar’s attempts to present itself as a center for media freedom in the Gulf region, Human Rights Watch said today. Doha News has been publishing news about Qatar online for six years, but on November 30, 2016, authorities there ordered Qatar’s two internet service providers, Vodafone and Ooredoo, to block the site, making it inaccessible to internet users in Qatar.

A Doha News spokesperson told Human Rights Watch that Qatari authorities said that the site’s reporting had upset “several” unnamed government ministries and cited concerns over its failure to formally register in Qatar. Doha News is registered and hosted in the United States, but its journalists live and work in Qatar. In October, Doha News published an editorial calling on the authorities to amend provisions of the 2014 cybercrime law to “preserve free speech and protect journalism in the country.”