Freedom House today sends its best wishes to Mikhail Khodorkovsky on his 50th birthday. Khodorkovsky, currently serving sentences after convictions in two lengthy and politically motivated trials, has become known worldwide as an outspoken advocate for individual and economic freedoms after his arrest in 2003 and subsequent prosecutions designed to silence him and intimidate other potential dissenting voices.
Freedom House welcomes the Venice Commission's opinion concluding that prohibitions of so-called homosexual propaganda do not meet international standards. According to the opinion of the group of international and constitutional experts, bans on homosexual propaganda are discriminatory, not justified by the facts, and ambiguous, and do not meet obligatory standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights.
On June 11, the director of the Brazilian newspaper Hora H was brutally shot 44 times by four hooded men in Nova Iguaçu, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. Freedom House expresses deep concern over persistent violence against journalists in Brazil and encourages authorities to investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Freedom House welcomes the letter from 46 Members of the European Parliament to European Union (EU) foreign ministers expressing deep reservations about the proposal to allow Russian officials to enter the EU without a visa.
The Greek government’s sudden decision to shut down the state broadcaster, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), is the most serious in a series of worrying developments for media freedom in the country. The move deals another devastating blow to the ability of the media to provide citizens with information from a variety of viewpoints in a country that is already suffering due to an unprecedented economic crisis.
The Russian Duma (parliament) today passed and sent to the upper chamber two deeply concerning bills, one which prohibits the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” around minors, and the other which would make it illegal to “offend” the religious beliefs of others. Each of these bills seriously threatens the fundamental rights of Russian citizens and contravenes international human rights standards. Freedom House calls on Russia’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, and President Vladimir Putin to reject both laws categorically.