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An Interview with Hugh Williamson

CABAR.asia: Recently, the authorities of the Central Asian countries have been actively regulating online activities, adopting various laws that help them control the internet. How are things going with the freedom of the internet, with internet…
Uzbekistan’s media landscape, made up of independent, state-sponsored, and international Uzbek and Russian language media outlets, is in a period of growth and change, as journalists test the boundaries of respect for free expression.
News

Detention of Rozina Islam a Major Strike Against Media Freedom

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities should drop all oppressive charges against the renowned Bangladeshi journalist Rozina Islam, Human Rights Watch said today. Islam’s colleagues believe she was detained over her reporting on corruption and…
A protester holds a placard reading "Free Rozina Islam " during a demonstration in PLACE on DATE. © 2021 Md Manik/SOPA Images/Sipa USA
News

Free Expression Under Serious Threat

(New York) – The Bangladesh government’s increasingly violent crackdown on media freedom is of urgent concern on World Press Freedom Day, nine nongovernmental organizations said in a letter today to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High…
Journalists work in front of a Covid-19 Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 20, 2021. 
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At least 60 investigated for social media posts since October 17

(Beirut) – Fourteen Lebanese and international organizations announced on July 13, 2020 the formation of a “Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression in Lebanon” to oppose the Lebanese authorities’ attempts to stifle free speech and opinion in the…
Lebanese protesters wave national flags during demonstrations to demand better living conditions on October 21, 2019 in downtown Beirut.
News

Government Should Support Independent Media Ahead of Electoral Process

On July 7, Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye, the chief editor and deputy director of the independent Goobjoog Media Group, is expected to appear in court in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. But his case should have never gone this far. On April 14, Abdiaziz…
Somali journalists in Mogadishu, Somalia December 29, 2019. 
News

Scores Injured; Hold Officers to Account

  (Beirut) – Lebanon’s riot police beat and violently arrested largely peaceful protesters and media workers during demonstrations on January 15, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The Interior Ministry should…
Riot police arrest a protester outside a police station in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
News

Netra News Latest to be Blocked in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities are blocking access to online news sites in violation of the right to free speech and access to information, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has also adopted advanced methods to block or conduct…
Bangladeshi photojournalists and journalists form a human chain infront of National Press Club protesting the attacks on them during the students' ongoing protest demanding safe roads, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 7, 2018.
News

Poet, Lawyer, Activists Jailed in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities made a series of new arrests in their crackdown on the right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests were based on vague charges such as “hurting religious sentiment” or undermining “law and…
A Bangladeshi reads a news report that makes mention of Facebook along with other social networking service, on his mobile phone in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
News

End Media Censorship, Prosecution of Journalists

In its annual press freedom index, Reporters Sans Frontières has dropped Bangladesh to 150th out of 180 countries – the lowest ranking it has ever received. Bangladesh’s Information Minister Hasan Mahmud disputed the report’s findings,…
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Digital Security Act is Overly Broad, Ripe for Abuse

(New York) – The Digital Security Act passed by the Bangladeshi parliament last week, despite vehement opposition from the country’s journalists, strikes a blow to freedom of speech in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, which…
Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid (3rd R) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2nd L) walk near female members of the Bangladesh army at the national parade ground in Dhaka on December 16, 2015.
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Periodic Rights Review Response Ignored Main Concerns

(Geneva) – The Bangladesh delegation to the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on May 14, 2018, failed to respond to pressing human rights concerns in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law minister,…
Tear gas is seen while police takes their position in the street Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
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During Kyrgyzstan Presidential Visit, EU Leaders Should Press for Greater Media Freedom

Six months after being elected president and taking power in the first peaceful transition between democratically elected leaders in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbai Jeenbekov is this week making his first official visit to Europe as head of…
Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (front) attends an inauguration ceremony at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 24, 2017.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Regional Leaders Should End Repressive Policies

(Berlin) – Political leaders in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should use the window of opportunity offered by political change in their countries to improve human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. Leaders of…
People attend the opening ceremony of the new Belarussian-built potash plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan March 31, 2017.
News

Stop Detaining Critics; Respect Independence of Media, Activists

(Brussels) – The European Union should make respect for human rights and an end to decades of repression a core component of its engagement with Central Asian countries, Human Rights Watch said today. In the past year, Central Asia has seen some…
From left to right: Mr Neven MIMICA, Member of the European Commission; Ms Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Erlan IDRISSOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Mr Erlan ABDYLDAEV
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Key Provisions that Severely Restrict Speech Remain

When Somalia’s new minister of information took office in March, he promised to review the country’s restrictive media law, raising hopes of fostering a better environment for journalists and free expression in the country. …
Journalists queue for a security sweep outside the venue of the presidential vote at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu