The prospect of being shot for daring to speak out

A blindfolded activist holds a photograph of imprisoned opposition leader Maryia Kalesnikava, during a protest against police violence, in Minsk, Belarus, 16 January 2021; Kalesnikava is on the KGB’s list of ‘terrorists’. STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

The prospect of being shot for daring to speak out

On the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus (29 May), human rights advocates around the world showed their solidarity with the Belarusian people by calling for an end to President Lukashenka’s repression of the independent press and civil society, and for all political prisoners (there are currently 1,217) to be freed.

280 crimes committed against the Ukrainian press

As Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reminded us this month, the list of journalists who are victims of Russia’s war against Ukraine grows longer by the day.

LGBTQI+ and civic space

Marking this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia (IDAHOBIT) (17 May), ILGA-Europe published its Rainbow Europe Map and Index. This annual report reviews the legal and policy situation for LGBTQI+ people across Europe over the previous 12 months and ranks countries accordingly. It provides an overview of the degree to which LGBTQI+ people can access their rights and fully engage in civic space.

“Boosting systematic censorship and self-censorship”

Last year, Turkey’s President Erdoğan described social media as one of the main threats to democracy and promised legislation that would criminalise the dissemination of disinformation online. This month saw the ruling party and nationalist allies present a long-anticipated (and dreaded) ‘disinformation bill’ to parliament. If the bill becomes law, those convicted under it will face up to three years in prison for spreading ‘fake news’ on the internet.

Artists hit by wave of cancellations and bans

Although we are used to regular reports about the continuing persecution of independent journalists in Turkey, the targeting of artists or the curbing of artistic expression hits the headlines only infrequently. This month, IFEX member Bianet published several stories charting an apparent uptick in the ongoing censorship of singers, actors and other performers by the Turkish authorities.

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IFEX

IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org