Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Khadija Ismayilova (left) talks to reporters upon her release from prison on May 25.

RFE/RL Journalist Ismayilova Released From Custody

RFE/RL journalist Khadija Ismayilova has walked free from an Azerbaijani prison and vowed to keep on working after the Supreme Court reduced her 7 1/2-year prison sentence to a suspended term of 3 1/2 years. More

Crackdown In Crimea

Crimea's Prosecutor-General Natalya Poklonskaya has called for the closure of RFE/RL's Crimea website.

Journalist In Crimea Investigated By Russia-Backed Authorities

The office for Crimea's de facto prosecutor-general has said that journalist Mykola Semena has been ordered not to leave the peninsula while he is being investigated by the Russia-backed authorities. More

Crimean-based journalist Mykola Semena (file photo)

Threat To Close RFE/RL Crimea Site Sparks International Condemnation

The latest clampdown on a Crimea news site run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has drawn international condemnation, with the United States denouncing it as "the Russian government's growing crackdown on independent voices" on the annexed peninsula. More

Anonymous in Crimea

A Crimean Tatar journalist and contributor to RFE/RL Ukrainian Service’s Crimea.Realities project to bring independent news and information to people in Crimea discusses what the last two years under Russian occupation have been like. More


Turkmenistan--RFE/RL correspondent Saparmamed Nepeskuliev. Youtube screengrab.

UN Working Group Finds Journalist's Detention Arbitrary

A UN body has found that Turkmenistan violated numerous international norms in the case of the independent journalist and that his detention is arbitrary. More

Austria -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds a press conference following a day of meetings in Vienna, October 23, 2015.

In Central Asia, Kerry Must Demand Release of Imprisoned Journalists

Rights groups have called on the U.S. Secretary of State to insist on the release of imprisoned journalists during his visit to Central Asia this week. More

Turkmenistan -- Photo from Ahalteke magazine of Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov with Akhalteke horse.

As US-Turkmen Talks Commence, Rights Groups Demand Freedom for Nepeskuliev

The bilateral talks come on the heels of rising urgency in the region, but rights advocates demand that Turkmenistan's human rights record be discussed. More

Turkmenistan -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, October 27, 2014.

What's Behind the Crackdown in Turkmenistan?

Turkmenistan, long ranked as among the world's most closed societies, is waging an unprecedented campaign against the few independent journalists and activists seeking to provide an alternative to the government's monopoly on information. More

Turkmenistan--RFE/RL Freelance Correspondent Saparmamed Nepeskuliev. Youtube screengrab.

Mother of Jailed Turkmen Journalist Deplores Official Silence

In a telephone conversation with RFE/RL's Turkmen service, the mother of imprisoned journalist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev deplored the lack of information about her son's case. More


The Taliban said that Afghanistan's private networks were "propaganda networks."

Taliban Target Afghan TV Networks

The Taliban has declared two of Afghanistan's major television networks and their employees legitimate targets due to their alleged "disrespectful and hostile actions" against the militant group. More


In a new propaganda video an IS militant speaks in unaccented Kyrgyz with a subtitled translation of his words in Russian.

IS's First-Ever Kyrgyz Recruitment Video

​For the first time, the militant group Islamic State (IS) has released a propaganda and recruitment video specifically addressing Muslims in Kyrgyzstan. More


WATCH: Armenian Protesters Confront Police

Video Armenian Police Target Journalists In Violent Crackdown

Police attempted to end a days-long street protest in the Armenia by forcibly dispersing participants and journalists. But the heavy-handed approach, which included the direct involvement of a top national police commander, has sparked a furious response at home and abroad. More


Video RFE/RL Video Deleted At Tajik Trial

Russian officers in the 109th garrison court in Dushanbe confiscated and partly deleted video material from a high-profile trial covered by RFE/RL's Tajik Service. More

Bad News: Tajikistan Tells Officials To Speak First To State Media

Dushanbe's new directive to officials to speak first to the state news agency could dramatically reduce independent journalists' access to information. More

The Bulletin: Updates On Journalists In Trouble

Pakistan -- Pakistani journalists rally to protest an attack on their colleague in April, 2014.

The Bulletin

The latest reporting on incidents targeting RFE/RL journalists and our non-RFE/RL colleagues in an effort to raise awareness about their situation, mobilize support on their behalf, and document the high price of reporting in places where the media is unfree. More

Kazakhstan -- Police arrest a demonstrator in Almaty May 21.
Kazakhstan -- Police arrest a demonstrator in Almaty May 21.

Dozens of journalists, including many from RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, were detained on May 21 while covering nationwide protests against a proposed land privatization law. Some journalists said their video recordings and photos were erased while they were in custody.

Kazakh Information and Communications Minister Dauren Abaev said on May 21 that he would "work to find out why [the journalists] were detained."

The websites of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service are blocked, but access to the service’s Facebook and YouTube sites was restored later on May 21 after offering only intermittent service since May 20.

The government crackdown comes as opposition activists called for rallies to be held across the country to protest proposed changes to laws that would allow farmland to be sold and would allow foreign investors to lease parcels of land for agricultural use for up to 25 years.


RFE/RL Kazakh Service Correspondent Saniya Toiken was detained by police April 29 while on her way to cover protests in the southwestern city of Zhanaozen. She was told she was being held as a witness to a traffic accident, but wasn’t given further information. She was released from custody May 1 when the demonstrations had finished and wasn’t questioned further about the alleged traffic accident.  A recently announced land privatization plan has sparked protests in several cities since late April. 

Vox Pop Vexation

RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service correspondent in Moscow, Umid Bobomatov, received several death threats by phone from April 15-16 after he reported on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in show. Bobomatov produced a video vox pop from Red Square asking Uzbek migrants what they would ask their own president if given a similar opportunity. Most were hesitant to answer on camera. When Bobomatov silenced his phone to avoid the threatening calls, he started receiving alarming text messages, one of which warned him, “watch your back,” and stated that someone had already been “sent after” him. 

"Current Time" Correspondents Targeted

Two freelance contributors to the Russian language TV news program "Current Time" were stopped by law enforcement officers in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk last week after reporting on a recently opened Putin-themed restaurant called President Café. One of the contributors was stopped again later by uniformed officers as he entered his apartment building. The officers checked his documents and suggested he “be more careful” in his line of work.

In a separate incident, a Current Time correspondent in Yekaterinburg, Russia was approached by what appeared to be security forces, though they refused to say which agency they represented. They told the correspondent they know who she works for.


The office for Crimea's de facto prosecutor-general said April 19 that journalist Mykola Semena has been ordered not to leave the peninsula while he is being investigated by the Russia-backed authorities. Semena, who is an outside contributor to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, is being investigated for alleged "calls for undermining the Russian territorial integrity via mass media."

Meanwhile, police conducted forced searches at the homes of seven journalists across Crimea, one of whom now faces up to five years in prison on criminal charges related to his work. International rights watchdogs and press freedom advocates have condemned the charges and searches. 


Tajikistan -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon will be able to be reelected indefinitely if he is successful in an upcoming referendum. Journalists and media watchdogs say pressure on independent journalists has intensified in the run-up to the May 22 vote. April 22, 2016.

Trending In Tajikistan: Media Repression

Ahead of referendum, a growing wave of pressure tactics threatens the country’s independent press. More

Freedom Of The Press Reports

Turkish police use a tear-inducing agent against demonstrators during a protest over the arrest of two reporters in Ankara late last year. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was singled out in the Freedom House report for his crackdown on journalists.

World Press Freedom At Lowest In More Than A Decade, Watchdog Says

A U.S.-based rights watchdog says press freedom in the world declined in 2015 to its lowest level in 12 years, under increased pressure from a combination of political, criminal, and terrorist elements. More

Mapping Journalists In Trouble


An interactive map of incidents affecting RFE/RL journalists with key press freedom rankings. 


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About This Page

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) mission is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally:  accurate news, responsible discussion, and open debate.


Of the 21 countries in which RFE/RL broadcasts, none has received a “free” press designation in Freedom House's annual survey of media freedom.  Seven have been labeled “partly free,” and the remaining 14 are unequivocally “not free.”


Because of the work they do, RFE/RL journalists, contributors, and bureau staff members risk intimidation, physical harm, and imprisonment. The Journalists in Trouble page reports on incidents targeting RFE/RL reporters and our non-RFE/RL colleagues in an effort to raise awareness about their situation, mobilize support on their behalf, and document the high price of reporting in places where the media is unfree.