Updates from Eastern Europe/Central Asia

Free press advocates in Turkey are awaiting a judge’s ruling concerning a multi-billion dollar fine levied against one of the country’s most influential media firms.

The Washington Post reported last week that the judge will consider whether the fine is legal. The issue pits Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan against businessman Aydin Dogan, whose newspapers have been critical of the government. For some more background, here’s Reuters’ September 2009 report on the fine.


There are two notes from Azerbaijan. Newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev has been serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence for, as The Washington Post reports, “making a terrorist threat, inciting ethnic conflict and tax evasion.” He has been in prison since April 2007.

This past spring, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that he should be set free. However, Fatullayev was again sentenced last week — this time to two-and-a-half years for possessing drugs. The Post reports that Fatullayev said someone planted the heroin that was found in his prison cell last December.

In other press news from Azerbaijan, the website Azeri Report questions whether the country will approve an international measure to protect journalists whose nations are part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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