Russia: freedom of expression remains under threat in the North Caucasus
ARTICLE 19 on 29 April 2010 released an analytical report which finds that freedom of expression is under severe threat in the North Caucasus. Although there has been a well-reported outbreak of violence in the region in recent weeks, ARTICLE 19 believes that there is a systematic trend of violations of the right to freedom of expression, which is merely exacerbated by the current security situation.
Thursday, 29 April 2010, by HRH London, based on Article 19, www.article19.org
The report highlights a number of problem areas across the region, where the authorities of the Russian Federation have failed to abide by their obligations under international law to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
Legislation used to suppress criticisms
ARTICLE 19 argues that this negative effect on freedom of expression is caused by a failure to adequately protect journalists, media representatives and human rights defenders from various forms of violence, combined with a lack of accountability resulting from failure to adequately investigate many of the cases of murders and assaults.
There is also a prevalent misuse of legislation to suppress criticisms of the authorities, though legal harassment of journalists, media representatives and human rights defenders. Other worrying trends include the continuing misuse of defamation and anti-extremism legalisation in order to intimidate independent media and human rights defenders, as well as increasing harassment of independent websites by the authorities.
Murders of journalists unpunished
The report echoes concerns that were raised in a shadow report which ARTICLE 19 submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in October 2009. This submission criticised the killings, kidnappings and physical attacks against journalists, media and civil society representatives that continue to go unpunished in the North Caucasus.
“ARTICLE 19 calls upon the Russian federal authorities to consistently and proactively fulfil their obligations to uphold the right to freedom of expression, as set out by international and European standards,” comments Dr Agnès Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.
To view the report, go here.
To view ARTICLE 19’s submission to the UN Human Rights Committee in October 2009, go here.
For more information please contact: Anya Tsitsina, Europe Programme Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 20 7324 2500.
ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.
HRH London, based on Article 19, www.article19.org