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Natalia Morari
All charges have been officially dropped against Moldovan journalist Natalia Morari, who was accused by the previous government of using social networking websites to organize violent street protests in Chisinau in the spring, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Chief prosecutor Valeriu Zubco dropped the charges on November 11 against Morari and three others, including Gabriel Stati, the son of Moldova's richest businessman.

Morari, 25, has admitted using Twitter to call on friends and others to demonstrate after the controversial April 5 parliamentary elections, but said she never intended for violence to occur and is not responsible for those actions.

The fierce protests against the conduct and result of the elections led the mass demonstrations to be called the "Twitter Revolution."

Moldova's Communist Party won the April elections, but it was forced to hold new elections by the pro-Western opposition, which finished first in the second poll of the year in July.

Morari, who has a blog on RFE/RL's Moldovan Service website, spent several weeks under house arrest after she was charged.
Copies of "Chorrord Ishkhanutiun"
A leading Armenian opposition newspaper has altered its name to get around a court order suspending its publication, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The daily "Chorrord Ishkhanutyun" (Fourth Estate) changed its name on its November 10 edition to "Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun" (Fourth Self-Rule) to avoid a court order that it halt publication while awaiting a court decision in a financial dispute.

The Gind company, which had printed the newspaper, sued its parent company, Ogostos, earlier this year over alleged unpaid bills totaling some 5 million drams ($13,000).

A Yerevan court ordered Ogostos to stop publishing the paper until the court case ends. Officials from the Service of Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA) visited the newspaper's offices on November 9 and warned the paper to comply with the ban.

The next day the daily published some 5,200 copies under the new name at another printing house.

The paper is known for its staunch support for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its harsh attacks on the government.

Deputy Editor Armen Baghdasarian denounced the court injunctions enforced by SMEJA as "absolutely ludicrous" and said they are politically motivated.

He told RFE/RL that Armenian law "does not permit the suspension of newspapers."

Gind Executive Director Karen Avetian denies that there is government pressure or another political motive behind his company's decision to go to court.

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About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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