Closing space for media and human rights

What can local media and human rights defenders do to counter the trends and how can the international community support them? Join International Media Support and Institute for Human Rights for a debate in Copenhagen

Efter flere års angreb og trusler er Iraks uafhængige, kritiske journalistmiljø svundet ind. I deres sted er talrige unge bloggere tager til sociale medier for udtrykke deres bekymringer om deres lands fremtid. Foto: Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, JFO i Irak.

Human rights, media and non-profit organisations are experiencing an unprecedented crackdown on their activities in a growing, global push-back against democracy. Laws restricting activities of NGOs and freedom of speech have been drafted or passed in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Governments in former Soviet republics and in parts of Eastern Europe are pushing back against democracy and human rights through political control of media, violent crackdowns on human rights defenders and legislation that restricts foreign funding of civil society organisations. This is no longer an isolated trend, but one that is apparent in countries across the world. We will investigate the cases of Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

Where is the pushback against democracy, human rights and freedom of speech coming from? What are the common trends of this push-back that we see in Eastern Europe and the CIS region? What can local media and human rights defenders do to counter the trends and how can the international community support them? Join us for a debate:


  • Andrew Puddephatt, Executive Director of Global Partners UK and international expert on freedom of expression issues. On the trends and causes of closing spaces for media and human rights globally.
  • Galina Timchenko, prominent journalist and editor-in-chief of the Riga-based Russian media Left Russia in 2014. On the present situation of media and rights organisations working in Russia.
  • Antonina Cherevko, IMS programme manager in Ukraine – on the attempts to impose restrictions on freedoms during the Maidan demonstrations and current situation of media and rights in Ukraine.
  • Evguenia Jane Klementieva, Eurasia Programme Manager, the Danish Institute for Human Rights – on the trends moving in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan affecting civil society organisations. What can be done?
  • Gulnara Akhundova, Azerbaijani human rights activist and IMS programme manager –  on the quashing of critical voices in Azerbaijan and role of international community.

The event is organised by International Media Support and Danish Institute for Human Rights.

To participate, join on Facebook or write to Helle Wahlberg, International Media Support, email:, tel. +45 28681059.

International Media Support is a nonprofit organisation that works to support local media in countries affected by armed conflict, human insecurity and political transition. The Danish Institute for Human Rights works to promote and protect human rights and equal treatment in Denmark and abroad.