Two Bulgarian reporters subjected to absurd judicial probe

first_imgThe investigation against Assen Yordanov and Atanas Tchobanov, who work for the investigative news website Bivol, was launched on the basis of a report supposedly issued by BOETS, an anti-corruption NGO, accusing them of buying real estate properties years ago at well below the market price. Bulgaria’s general election: RSF publishes 10 proposals to rescue press freedom BulgariaEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsMedia independence CorruptionOrganized crimeEconomic pressureJudicial harassment News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office to explain theabsurd judicial probe it has launched against two investigative reporters who exposed areal estate scandal implicating senior officials, including prosecutor-general Sotir Tzatsarovhimself. Atanas Tchobanov and Assen Yordanov / DR RSF is also disturbed by the case of Hristo Geshov, an investigative reporter for the Zov News website, who was abducted by unidentified men in May and not released until the website had removed his story about an allegedly illegal water supply system in the town of Troyan, where he lives. News Organisation Help by sharing this information News March 10, 2021 Find out more “We are concerned about this new use of completely fabricated accusations with the aim of silencing investigative journalists and we call on the prosecutor’s office to explain what motivated this investigation,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union and Balkans desk. RSF and 60 other organisations call for an EU anti-SLAPP directive to go further RSF regards the judicial investigation as a crude attempt to intimidate the journalists and deter them from continuing their reporting. Newscenter_img According to a recent European Commission report, Bulgaria has failed to make any significant progress in combatting corruption during the past decade. It is ranked 111th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. BulgariaEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsMedia independence CorruptionOrganized crimeEconomic pressureJudicial harassment Those implicated in this so-called “Apartment Gate” scandal include prosecutor-general Tzatsarov, who was reported to have bought a home near the city of Peshtera for a very low price. Follow the news on Bulgaria Receive email alerts Bulgaria: RSF condemns refusal to investigate reporter’s violent arrest June 18, 2019 Two Bulgarian reporters subjected to absurd judicial probe “What with trumped-up drug charges in Russia and trumped-up corruption complaints in Bulgaria, how far are press freedom’s enemies prepared to go in order to silence investigative journalists?” This trumped-up investigation against Yordanov and Tchobanov seems to have been prompted by the series of revelations they began publishing in Bivol in March showing that that senior members or associates of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s ruling GERB party had acquired luxury real estate properties at well below their market value. The state’s attempts to harass journalists and crush them economically are all the more disturbing for being coordinated with oligarch Delyan Peevski’s pro-government media such as the daily Trud, which published an anonymous article at the start of June detailing the fabricated allegations against Yordanov and Tchobanov. BOETS denies issuing the report and has filed a complaint for identity usurpation. Yordanov and Tchobanov told RSF that there are no grounds for the claims and have published notarized documents showing that the purchase of their modest properties was above board. Yordanov was nonetheless questioned by the police general directorate on 13 June. February 11, 2021 Find out more The examples of harassment are growing. Rossen Bossev, a reporter for the Bulgarian business weekly Capital Weekly, was convicted on 21 May of criminally defaming the former head of Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission. December 2, 2020 Find out more RSF_en last_img read more

European Union urged to act in defence of press freedom

first_img November 27, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 European Union urged to act in defence of press freedom to go further News Organisation RSF_en Help by sharing this information March 18, 2021 Find out more February 25, 2021 Find out more Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Follow the news on Iran IranMiddle East – North Africa center_img After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists IranMiddle East – North Africa News Receive email alerts Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists News News Reporters Without Borders said today it was concerned that the tense situation in Iran was leading to a further crackdown on the media and called on the European Union, which will shortly have talks with the regime about human rights, to insist that freedom of expression be respected. The organisation’s secretary-general, Robert Ménard, called for the immediate release of imprisoned journalists Behrouz Gheranpayeh, Hossein Ghazian and Abbas Abdi, as well as nine others who are in jail.Geranpayeh, head of the National Institute of Public Opinion, who also worked on the now-closed newspaper Nowrooz, was arrested on 16 October and sent to Evin prison, near Teheran. He was accused of “spying” and collaborating with the exiled armed People’s Mujahideen movement. His wife has since only been allowed to visit him once, in a judge’s office, and a date for his trial has not been set.Ghazian, one of the Ayandeh public opinion institute’s directors and also a Nowrooz journalist, was arrested on 31 October and taken to the same prison. Abdi, another Ayandeh director and former editor of the now-closed daily paper Salam who has worked on many pro-reform newspapers, was arrested at his home on 4 November. The head of court no. 1410 (known as the press court), Judge Said Mortazavi, accused Ayandeh of receiving money from the US polling firm Gallup “or from a foreign embassy.” Ghazian and Abdi will be tried by the court on 1 December. Their lawyers said they had not been allowed to see the case files.These three arrests came after the publication on 22 September by one of Iran’s official news agencies, IRNA, of a poll by Ayandeh and the National Institute of Public Opinion showing that 74.4% of Iranians favoured a resumption of ties with the United States. On 24 November, more than 100 journalists sent a petition to the conservative-dominated judiciary calling for the release of the three men, who they called “political prisoners.” Students began demonstrating on 9 November against a death sentence imposed on an intellectual, Hashem Aghajari, who had spoken up in June against Islamic fundamentalism. Their protests became increasingly political and called for more freedom and the release of “political prisoners.” The judiciary announced on 25 November that Aghajari’s death sentence would be reviewed.Judge Mortazavi has twice in recent weeks summoned newspaper editors and ordered them not to print any more about the public opinion poll case or the student demonstrations.A court in Ghavzin, north of Teheran, suspended the weekly Nameh Ghavzin for three months on 21 November for “inciting young people to immorality and indecency” and fined it three million rials (about 1 940 euros) for “undermining revolutionary sentiment.”Three journalists were beaten by Islamic extremists on 22 November as they were covering a gathering of 5,000 people marking the anniversary of the murder of four opposition intellectuals in late 1998. Several hundred extremists attacked the crowd, hitting people with sticks and fists while police stood by. The families of the murdered four had told the gathering they would petition the UN Human Rights Commission to investigate their deaths. June 9, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Archbishop Lori, upcoming speaker at ND Forum, has history of blocking transparency in the Church sex abuse crisis

first_imgArchbishop of Baltimore William Lori, the subject of controversy for his history resisting Church transparency efforts, is among seven individuals invited to speak over the course of the 2019 Notre Dame Forum, the University announced in a press release Wednesday.Lori will be speaking on the forum’s keynote panel, “The Church Crisis: Where Are We Now?,” at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Leighton Concert Hall. He will be joined by Kathleen McChesney, former executive assistant director at the FBI; Juan Carlos Cruz, advocate for survivors of clergy abuse; and Peter Steinfels, former editor at Commonweal and former columnist for the New York Times.According to a Sept. 2 profile by the Washington Post, Lori has led efforts to address clergy abuse as early as the 1980s, when he was an aide to then-archbishop of Washington, D.C. James Hickey.As bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, from 2001 to 2012 Lori helped lead his diocese in the charge against clergy sex abuse. According to the profile, Lori pushed for a number of reforms seen as progressive for their time, “including removing suspected sex offenders from ministry, offering abuse awareness training, doing criminal background checks on diocesan employees, and — for the first time — reporting allegations of clergy sexual abuse to state investigators.”However, the archbishop has made repeated efforts to protect the identities of abusive clergy as well as many powerful Church leaders with ties to them.In 2002, Lori helped write the Church’s landmark Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Dallas Charter), which outlined a “zero-tolerance” policy toward sexual abuse.As a member of the document’s drafting committee, Lori helped narrow the scope of the charter to omit bishops. The first draft of the document held all clerics accountable for sex abuse; the final version, however, applies to only priests and deacons. When asked why, Lori reportedly said the drafting committee “decided [they] would limit it to priests and deacons, as the disciplining of bishops is beyond the purview of this document.”Over the next several years, the then-bishop fought to keep documents containing the names of abusing clergy in Bridgeport secret despite a state order calling for their publication. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the documents’ release in 2009.In 2018, Lori was asked by the Vatican to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Michael Bransfield, who is Lori’s acquaintance of nearly 20 years.According to records of the investigation obtained by the Washington Post, Bransfield gave $350,000 in cash gifts to other clergy “including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican.”At Lori’s request, the names of 11 high-ranking clergy who had received some of the money were cut from a report of the investigation to the Vatican — including his own.The Post reported Lori received $10,500 from Bransfield. He has since returned $7,500.“In light of what I have come to learn of bishop Bransfield’s handling of diocesan finances, I have returned the full amount to the diocese and have asked that it be donated to Catholic Charities,” Lori wrote in a letter to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.According to a June 6 article from WBAL-TV, an unnamed spokesman for the archdiocese said the remaining $3,000 was payment Lori received for celebrating two Masses in West Virginia.The spokesman also said the 11 names were omitted from the report because “including them could inadvertently and/or unfairly suggest that in receiving gifts for anniversaries or holidays there were expectations for reciprocity,” despite that “no evidence was found to suggest this.”The University press release did not include any information about the $10,500 Lori received from Bransfield, his efforts to conceal the identities of abusive clergy in Bridgeport or his work on the Dallas Charter, only stating he investigated “allegations of sexual harassment and financial impropriety by the former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.”When asked for comment, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne said in an email Lori was selected because “like each of the panelists, Archbishop Lori has an informed, unique contribution to make to this important discussion, including his role in crafting the Dallas Charter.”Browne pointed to an opinion piece about the forum by Crux editor John Allen, who will be moderating the panel.“The best characterization of the panel I’ve read is from [Allen],” Browne said in the email.Browne did not specify who was involved with selecting the speakers, nor respond to inquiry into whether Notre Dame was aware of or if there was internal discussion regarding Lori’s controversial history.Lori was not available for comment at the time of publication.Tags: Archbishop, ND forum, Notre Dame Forum 2019, William Lorilast_img read more