Freedom House strongly condemns the conviction of 34 defendants accused of instigating riots in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, in December 2011. Based on trial observation and media reports, the proceedings were marred by credible allegations of torture that authorities refused to adequately investigate.
Freedom House is deeply concerned about comments made by the Azerbaijani government expressing open hostility toward independent journalists, as well as proposed amendments to laws that restrict access to information.
The current state of media freedom in Latin America was driven home in early May, when three journalists were murdered in Mexico within a week of World Press Freedom Day. This dramatic example underscores a larger trend identified by Freedom House in the recently released Freedom of the Press 2012 report, which noted that a range of negative developments over the past decade have left media freedom on the defensive in much of Central and South America.
Freedom House urges Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make human rights and democracy shortfalls in the Caucasus region the cornerstone topic in private meetings and in public statements during her upcoming visit to Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
Freedom House welcomes Peru’s efforts to investigate the deaths that resulted from a recent anti-mining protest, but remains deeply concerned about the government’s use of state of emergency declarations as a way to restore order.