Freedom House welcomes the release of four Turkish journalists on March 12, but cautions that Turkey must do more to address ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression. Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Şait Çakır and Coşkun Musluk spent over a year in prison for their alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow the Turkish government – known as “Ergenekon.”
Freedom House condemns the recent attack on Vijesti daily newspaper writer Olivera Lakic, who was beaten by an unknown assailant outside of her apartment in Podgorica, Montenegro on March 7 – likely in retaliation for a series of articles she wrote alleging a local factory committed fraud.
Freedom House remains strongly opposed to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s bid to reconsider the life sciences prize associated with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, because of his government’s human rights abuses, and calls on the UNESCO Executive Board to permanently remove the prize from consideration.
Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai’s decision to endorse a document enforcing a “code of conduct” that limits women’s freedoms is a grave setback for women in Afghanistan. This decision, which comes a day before International Women’s Day on March 8, represents a serious threat to the advancements women have achieved in the country since the fall of the Taliban.
Freedom House condemns Tajikistan’s state-run communications agency for ordering internet service providers to block access to Facebook and at least three Russian-language websites, including – tjknews.com, maxala.org and zvezda.ru – after the sites published an article critical of President Emonali Rakhmon entitled “Tajikistan on the eve of a revolution.”
Freedom House condemns the Colombian Cudinamarca High Court’s decision on February 29 to uphold the prison sentence against Luis Agustin Gonzalez, editor of newspaper Cundinamarca Democrática, for criminal libel, and hopes the Supreme Court repeals the sentence.