20-26 APRIL: ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS AND VIOLATIONS AGAINST MEDIA SPECIFIC TO COVID-19

Index on Censorship and Justice for Journalists Foundation jointly monitor violations against the global media specific to the COVID-19 related crisis and catalogue them on the Index’s current website and on the JFJ Media Risk Map.

  • RUSSIA, PSKOV: Journalist Lyudmila Savitskaya was summoned for questioning by the police over her article titled “The situation is critical. How Pskov is responding to the coronavirus pandemic”, published on the 23rd March. She may be charged with the spreading of false information under Article 13.15 of the Criminal Code.
  • RUSSIA, KRASNOYARSK: At the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the media and telecommunications censorship agency Roskomnadzor ordered to delete the video it deemed fake. The video shows pensioners from the “Putin’s unit” movement accusing Donald Trump in inventing COVID-19 while burning the virus’ symbol in a bucket.
  • BELARUS, GOMEL: Journalists Larisa Shirokova and Andrei Tolchin received an administrative protocol for the illegal dissemination of the information in the media from the Gomel Central District Police Department. On March 20, they recorded a short video interview with students from the Francisk Skorina Gomel State University about quarantine regime due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The video was used by the Belsat TV channel that broadcasts from Poland. In recent years, Gomel courts sentenced Tolchin to pay fines more than ten times, and Shirokova more than twenty times.
  • RUSSIA, MOSCOW: Elena Milashina, Novaya Gazeta columnist, filed a request to the Russian Investigative Committee to open a criminal case against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.  She demands to investigate the murder threats he made on his Instagram page following her article “Dying of Coronavirus is a Lesser Evil”.
  • TAJIKISTAN, DUSHANBE: The editorial office of “Asia-Plus” received an anonymous call with murder threats and insults to journalist Abdullo Gurbati. At the same time, in a YouTube video unknown people called Abdullo a traitor for covering events related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Tajikistan. According to them, he works in the interests of dissidents intentionally escalating the situation in the country.
  • GHANA, ACCRA: While reporting on a fire in Accra, Ghana, journalist Samuel Adobah, of TV Africa, was attacked by soldiers who were on patrol enforcing the coronavirus lockdown. One soldier beat Adobah to the ground and stomped on his phone.
  • ALGERIA, MAGHREB: Two news websites in Algeria, Maghreb Emergent.info and Radio M.info, which are both owned by the same company, have been blocked by the authorities in a move that the director of the company believes is “simply political”.
  • UGANDA, OYAM DISTRICT: Radio Wa journalist Richard Odongo was allegedly assaulted by a member of the authorities on 26 March. He was covering the implementation of an order from President Yoweri Museveni about social distancing and limitations of group gatherings at the time.