Media Freedom Crucial Prior to December 1 Election
Gambian authorities arbitrarily detained three journalists just days before the November 16 start of the two-week presidential election campaign, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should appropriately charge or release the journalists and ensure that Gambian and international media can operate without fear of harassment or arbitrary arrest.
On November 8, officials from Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) arrested the director-general of Gambia’s state television and radio broadcaster, Momodou Sabally, along with his colleague Bakary Fatty. NIA officers arrested Alhagie Manka, an independent photojournalist, on November 10. All three have yet to appear in court, in violation of Gambian law.
Parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 16 October 2016 were marred with allegations of irregularities, reported via social networks, and a temporary ban on WhatsApp, Viber and similar messaging apps.
The regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services ordered telecom operators to prevent the use of messaging applications. The Agency reasoned that the ban was intended to keep users from receiving “unwanted communication,” an official designation for spam that could also apply to mass messages sent on behalf of specific candidates or political parties.
Authorities in Guinea should take concrete and immediate steps to ensure justice for the victims and the families of those who were shot, raped, or beaten to death during the 2015 presidential election period, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today in a joint letter to President Alpha Condé.
Guinea’s authorities should ensure that members of the security forces and mobs linked to both the ruling party and opposition groups are held accountable for the killing of 12 people, several rapes, and the looting of several markets in Conakry, the capital, during the election period. To date, no one has been brought to justice in relation to these crimes.
Earlier this week, journalists from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the RISE Project published a new documentary studying the effects of illegal logging in Romania and Ukraine. The film, titled “Clear Cut Crimes,” examines the collusion of illegal and legal businesses that are devastating the last of Europe’s primeval forests.
Less than six months are left before Georgia’s parliamentary election, and a heated contest is expected. The parties of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition have decided to run independently, while several opposition parties are driving hard for public support.
Yet across the country, pessimism reigns. Nowhere is it felt more strongly than among Georgia’s 265,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), who largely hail from the now de-facto states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ethnic cleansing during the wars of the 1990s and later led to Georgian inhabitants of these territories fleeing for their lives. Poorly-integrated into wider society, many IDPs’ hopes for a brighter future have been dashed by successive governments and their failed promises to improve living standards — or to return home.