27 APRIL – 10 MAY: 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, MOSCOW: Roskomnadzor (Russian federal executive body responsible for censorship in media and telecommunications) blocked the web-site of the health business magazine Vademecum.  Its article “Moscow’s compulsory medical insurance fund has refused to pay for treatment of COVID-19 patients that weren’t hospitalised by an ambulance” was brought under a fake news law’s blacklist. After Vademecum deleted the article Roskomkomnadzor resumed access to the website.
  • RUSSIA, VOLODGA: Journalist and activist Evgeny Domozhirov was arrested for three days on charges of disobedience to the police. He also received two fines of 1000 rubles (14 USD) for the violation of self-isolation rules. The journalist covered the protest of residents of the Byvalovo neighbourhood against the construction of a kindergarten on the site of the park. Domozhirov was detained, left overnight at the police station, and delivered to the court in handcuffs.
  • UKRAINE, KYIV: Bohdan Kutepov, reporter of Hromadske was beaten by the police while live-streaming an anti-lockdown protest in Kyiv on 29 April. Police also damaged his equipment.
  • KAZAKHSTAN, KARABULAK: On May, 4 the court issued an administrative penalty in the form of a warning to the video blogger and civil activist Mirshat Sarsenbayev for violating the state of emergency.
  • BELARUS, MINSK: Belarusian Foreign Ministry cancelled the accreditations for Aleksey Kruchinin and Sergey Panasyuk, journalists of the Russian public broadcaster Channel One. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anatoliy Glaz said that decision was made because of the “disseminated information that did not correspond with the reality”. This happened after the release of the news story about the situation with COVID-19 in Belarus.
  • AZERBAIJAN, BAKU: Saadat Dzhahangir, from the newspaper “Azadliq” and Irada Nariman, deputy chairman of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP), were detained at the entrance to the house, where the leader of the opposition party Ali Karimli lives. “I was preparing an article about Kerimli’s 55th birthday. When we were entering the apartment building where Ali Karimli lives, we were approached by plainclothes officers who instructed us to go with them”, said Saadat Dzhahangir. The women spent over four hours in the police station and let go with a fine of 100 Manat (around 60 USD) for breaking quarantine regulations. “And this is despite the fact that I presented my journalistic certification, and Irada Nariman – her text message permission”, said Dzhahangir. The police actions will be appealed in court.
  • BANGLADESH, DHAKA: On 6 May, cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, writer Mushtaq Ahmed, Swedish-Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Khalil of Netra News and eight others have been charged under Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act for “spreading rumours and carrying out anti-government activities” on social media. 11 people are being charged for “knowingly posting rumours against the father of the nation, the liberation war, and the coronavirus pandemic to negatively affect the nation’s image”. Kishore and Mushtaq have been jailed.
  • MALAYSIA, KUALA LUMPUR: Investigative journalist Wan Noor Hayati Wan Alias has been charged over posts she made to the Ibu Yati Facebook account in January. The post included a warning against the arrival of 1,000 Chinese nationals on a cruise ship in Penang following the outbreak. She was charged under the Penal Code which handles “statements conducing to public mischief” and faces up to six years in prison.