Civil society activists in Azerbaijan are trying to push back against government efforts to restrict space for public debate. And they’re hoping a recent global Internet forum in Baku will expand international support for their cause.
Court proceedings are dragging on in Turkey for 44 Kurdish media workers accused of supporting terrorism. While human rights groups say the trial, which opened in September, is an attempt to clamp down on free speech, the Turkish government maintains that some of the defendants are not actually journalists, but propagandists.
It’s clear that Russia and other authoritarian-minded, formerly Soviet states would like to turn out the lights on the Internet. Given their mood, an annual UN gathering, scheduled to be hosted by Azerbaijan in November, could emerge as a pivotal moment for web's future in Eurasia.
Social media has been a boon for democratization forces around the world, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa. But a recent tragedy in Turkey helps highlights the fact that social media also has a potentially dark side for democratization efforts.
The imminent trial of Vladimir Farafonov, an ethnic Russian journalist charged with inciting racial hatred by penning a series of offensive online publications, is fueling debates about chauvinism, due process and press freedom in his native Kyrgyzstan.
An important press-freedom case is reaching its conclusion in Tajikistan. Independent journalist Makhmadyusuf Ismoilov has been likened by colleagues to Robin Hood for his efforts to expose governmental corruption. Far from seeing him as a heroic figure, officials contend Ismoilov is a calumniator and want him locked up.
The lawyer for a BBC reporter in Tajikistan charged with membership in a banned Islamic radical group says investigators are denying her access to her client. Colleagues say the veteran journalist was arrested to silence his critical reporting, marking the latest attack on independent media in Tajikistan.