journalism under fire

4 petitions

Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to President of the United States

Release Imprisoned Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

Who is Kirill Vyshinsky? Kirill Vyshinsky, a Ukrainian-Russian journalist, has been imprisoned in Ukraine for over 250 days, on unfound charges of ‘treason,’ which human rights groups are calling, politically motivated, and faces up to 15 years in prison.  Kirill’s detainment has drawn condemnation from authorities and human rights activists within Ukraine and from international organizations including Reporters without Borders, and the Council of Europe, labeling Kirill’s arrest as a ‘gross abuse of democratic norms’. “I hope that Kirill Vyshinsky’s pre-trial detention will not be further extended and will therefore end on 4 November 2018,” Harlem Désir of the OSCE (Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe) said. “I call on the Ukrainian authorities to expedite the investigation on the serious charges brought against Vyshinsky, and to conduct such an investigation in full compliance with the principles of rule of law, necessity and proportionality.” On May 15, 2018, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) carried out a massive operation against journalists, having forcefully searched the Ukrainian-based RIA Novosti’s central office in Kiev, including its correspondents’ homes, and arrest of it’s editor-in-chief, Kirill Vyshinsky. On July 11, the court in Kherson, Ukraine extended Kirill’s imprisonment by 60 days without bail, and is currently being held captive, as his health is rapidly deteriorating.  As of November 1, the Kherson city court has extended the arrest of Kirill until December 28, without a legitimate trial and without right to bail. Since his arrest in May, Kirill’s case has stalled and Ukrainian prosecutors continue to ignore calls to free him from detention. Why Kirill's Case Is Important: Kirill’s arrest has been part of a disturbing trend of silencing journalists who are either critical of their government’s actions, or unearthing deep-rooted corruption among state officials.  The latest victims of such barbaric treatment have been the rape and murder of Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova, who at the time was investigating EU corruption, and more recently, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose body was allegedly mutilated after being murdered by Saudi agents in Istanbul - both cases have been receiving unprecedented international attention. These acts cannot be ignored, and the world is taking notice, that such behavior towards journalists will not be tolerated. What kind of a world would we be living in if state officials find it acceptable to label journalistic work as treasonous? Or will the US stand idly by as its allies deem free speech and truth to be treason? How many journalists are to be locked-up or even worse, killed, before democratic values are upheld? What You Can Do: We call on the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the US government to demand the Ukrainian authorities to release Kirill immediately and to end his illegal detention. At 100,000 signatures, this petition will get a response from the US government. Sign this petition and share it with your friends and colleagues, join the group, and demand your representative take action to defend the rule of law - and help return Kirill to his loved ones. The truth can never be silenced. The time to act is now. #TruthNotTreason

Vladimir Rodzianko
940 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Andy Harris

Tell Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) his comments about the press are unacceptable

On June 28th, Annapolis, MD became the scene of a mass shooting. Rather than a school, concert, or a church, spaces that we have wearily come to accept the “usual targets”, this time it was a newspaper office: The Capital Gazette (just known as “The Capital” to locals). The M.O. was still the same: a man with a history of violent harassment, a gun, and an imagined vendetta because of his bruised ego. Five people were coldly murdered that day while at work: Rebecca Smith, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, and Wendi Winters. ...And more would have been killed that day if not for the efforts of Wendi Winters, who valiantly charged at the gunman with only a trash can and recycling bin in hand.  She managed to temporarily distract the gunman from more potential victims in the office, saving lives at the cost of her own life. The idea for recognizing her amazing heroism by potentially nominating her for the Presidential Medal of Freedom was first suggested in a Capital Gazette editorial on July 10th; then within days was taken upon by Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2) to turn into an official nomination request letter to be sent to the President. The nomination letter was sent on July 16th with the rest of the Maryland Delegation’s signatures (Senators Cardin and Van Hollen, Reps Brown, Sarbanes, Cummings, Delaney, Hoyer, and Raskin)...Except for that of Representative Andy Harris (MD-1), who also happened to be the only Republican. An editorial in the Capital Gazette on summed it up the best:“If this letter to the president stands without Harris’ name affixed to the bottom, its chances of success are severely diminished because of the president’s view of our profession and his political opponents. We don’t think politics should be a part of this process. Winters’ actions deserve recognition from the White House. Harris should not only sign the letter but become a vocal advocate in convincing the president to make this award.” In between the time when the nomination letter was sent and we were waiting to hear any sort of statement from Rep. Harris explaining his lack of support, he statements that were clear that he cares little for the suffering of those at the Capital Gazette, the families of the victims, and the Annapolis communities that hold them dearly. When asked questions about his thoughts and feelings regarding Pres. Trump’s press conference following the Russia summit, Rep. Harris made statements about the press that were not only alarming and hostile, but were in especially poor taste considering they came only a few weeks after violent attack on a newspaper in the capital of his home state. He stated, “I disregard and discount anything that involves the mainstream press”, as well as accused the press of being purposefully “unfriendly” towards the President. Journalism is committed to presenting the facts to the people, not bending them to cater to the wishes of men who do not like what is said about them...Whether that be a politician or a gunman. There are reasons why Freedom of the Press is specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution as well as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To quote the great American journalist (and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient) Edward R. Murrow, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” To be an elected public figure (especially a Marylander) who denies the importance of that in the wake of such a tragedy is irresponsible and insulting to the memories of Rob, John, Gerald, Rebecca, and Wendi. However, it was not until July 18th that his spokeswoman Jacque Clark stated that Rep. Harris had sent “private communication to the White House” in official support of the effort; then went on to accuse the rest of the delegation not giving Rep. Harris “time to personally review” the facts and letter before signing it. The facts of Wendi’s actions and the nomination letter were known and clear-cut, it should not have taken extra time to deliberate signing. In fact, it is surprising that Rep. Harris, himself a Navy veteran, would not have rushed to support the heroism of a proud Navy daughter and mother, especially considering that he was the one who nominated one of her daughters for acceptance into the Naval Academy. One can only speculate as to why he would behave in this manner, whether is due to his clear dislike of the press or his political partisanism.  Regardless, it is disappointing, shameful, and he should be held accountable for his inexplicable and inexcusable words and actions. With this petition, we, the undersigned, request the following from Representative Andy Harris: 1. That he publicly recant and apologize to the Capital Gazette for his recent statements about the press. 2. Personally apologize to the family of Wendi Winters for his delay and lack of public support for her nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the rest of the Maryland Congressional Delegation It is our sincere hope that Rep. Harris will recognize the harm that he is causing by contributing to the current hostile atmosphere towards journalists, the press, and the First Amendment that can lead to attacks like the one on June 28th.  Furthermore, as we do our best to recover and continue on, we hope that Rep. Harris become a vocal supporter and bipartisan advocate for the recognition of Wendi Winters -- a woman who selflessly gave her life trying to protect her fellow journalists and our American right to Freedom of the Press.   Links for more information:

Levi Jones
1,011 supporters
Update posted 7 months ago

Petition to Talab Abu Arar, Saeed Alkharumi, Abd Al Hakeem Haj Yahya, Yair Lapid, Moshe Kahlon

Call on Israel's parliament to oppose the bill criminalizing the documentation of soldiers

Israel’s parliament is to consider a law banning the photographing or filming of soldiers. The proposed legislation is entitled the “Prohibition against photographing and documenting IDF Soldiers”. "Anyone who filmed, photographed, and/or recorded soldiers in the course of their duties, with the intention of undermining the spirit of IDF soldiers and residents of Israel, shall be liable to five years imprisonment. Anyone intending to harm state security will be sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment", says the bill, proposed by Robert Ilatov, a member of the Knesset and the chairman of the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party. This is a dangerous, totalitarian attempt to undermine scrutiny of the violations of international law carried out by Israeli forces. Haaretz has condemned the bill, saying its aim was to “to silence criticism of the army, and in particular to prevent human rights organisations from documenting the Israeli army’s actions in the territories. The immediate result of such a prohibition is serious harm to the possibility of protecting human rights and overseeing the army’s activity. The bill does serious harm to freedom of the press and the public’s right to know what the reality is and especially what the ‘people’s army; is doing in its name and on its behalf.” Israeli forces have long been targeting journalists in Palestine, from directly shooting tear gas and bullets at press and human rights activists (including children) in the West Bank to the recent murders of Yasser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein during the ongoing Great Return March in Gaza. The number of journalists killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2000 has reached 43. Please join us in condemning the proposed bill and calling on the Knesset to oppose this law, with the hashtag #DontShootTheMessenger. Bill timeline: Sunday 17th June: The Israeli government endorsed the proposal, if the aim of filming is “hurting a soldier’s spirit” or “harming national security.” The bill will now undergo four full rounds of votes in the parliament before it becomes a law. Wednesday 20th June: The bill passed its first reading in a 45-42 vote. Photo via Getty Images

Human Rights Defenders
4,496 supporters