Bolot Temirov, an investigative journalist with dual Russian and Kyrgyz citizenship, has been deported to Russia following an appeals court hearing. On Wednesday a Bishkek city court upheld a lower court decision acquitting Temirov of drug possession and illegal border crossing, but convicted him of using forged documents to obtain a Kyrgyz passport. According to media reports, the statute of limitations had expired, but the court ordered his deportation as additional punishment for the forged documents charge. A lawyer for Temirov, Bakyt Avtandil, said that immediately after the decision he was “placed aboard a plane bound for Moscow.” The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement that the decision was "outrageously irresponsible and vindictive" and “could put his life in danger amid Russia’s mobilization in its war on Ukraine.” The CPJ also described Temirov as "arguably Central Asia’s leading anti-corruption investigator." Temirov’s reporting regularly embarrassed senior officials.
Reporters interested in reporting on the “undercurrents of rebellion” have three weeks left to apply for the Kim Wall Memorial Fund, a grant coordinated by the International Women’s Media Foundation. The fund was set up in memory of Wall, a Swedish journalist who was murdered in 2017. Selected women and nonbinary journalists receive US$5,000. “More than ever, we need brave female journalists who give voice to the people that normally never hit the front pages,” said the reporter’s parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall. The fund was set up to support reporters who, like Wall, are interested in chasing down “important, underreported stories.” Deadline: December 15.
At a ceremony in New York City this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists bestowed its 2022 International Press Freedom Awards on members of the press from Cuba, Iraq, Vietnam, Ukraine, and Russia. To recognize the courage and perseverance shown in a very difficult year for freedom of the press around the world, CPJ honored Cuban freelance journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa, freelance journalist Niyaz Abdullah from Iraqi Kurdistan, human rights reporter Pham Doan Trang, and Ukrainska Pravda editor-in-chief Sevgil Musaieva. Emblematic of the threats facing journalists currently, both Jiménez Enoa and Abdullah have had to flee their home countries because of their reporting, and Trang was recently sentenced to nine years in prison after a one-day trial for charges of spreading news against the state. Galina Timchenko, editor of the independent website Meduza, was given the annual Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award in recognition of her leadership of the exiled news site's continued reporting on Russia.
The Italian reporter who wrote the book “Gomorrah” about the mafia’s hold on Naples will stand trial next week on defamation charges brought by Italy’s prime minister. Roberto Saviano — who faces three years in prison if convicted — said the tactic was to "intimidate one in order to intimidate 100." The press freedom group PEN International said bringing the case to court sends a “chilling message to all journalists and writers in the country, who may no longer dare to speak out for fear of reprisals.” Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, took office last month. Saviano criticized her approach to immigration on a television talk show in 2020. The journalist has been under police protection since publishing the book.
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is currently battling a record 41 SLAPP cases — strategic lawsuits against public participation, often brought by wealthy subjects of investigations to silence, intimidate, or financially burden journalists. The “OCCRP SLAPPs Back” campaign aims to build an in-house legal defense fund for media organizations in the OCCRP network to fight back against these often absurd legal proceedings. “We have more SLAPP lawsuits than we have reporters,” said Stevan Dojčinović, the editor in chief of KRIK, a Serbian outlet battling 11 lawsuits. The campaign will run through the end of the year and hopes to raise US$100,000.
Iran is accused of threatening the lives of two journalists from the exile media site Iran International in retaliation for their coverage of the ongoing protests in that country. The London-based Persian language TV channel alerted UK authorities this week that a pair of its British-Iranian reporters had faced credible threats of violence from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). “Time and again Iranian authorities have acted with impunity in attempting to silence journalists around the world,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, in a statement. “UK authorities must ensure the safety of Iran International’s staff and send a message that threats to journalists on its soil will not be tolerated. Until foreign governments hold Iran accountable, this trend will only worsen, and journalists will continue to face unacceptable threats to their safety.”