Investigation of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was inadequate, says the ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights released a judgement on 17 July, stating that the investigation of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya‘s murder “failed to look properly into who commissioned the crime”. The Court decided that the Russian government violated the Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore, is due to pay 20,000 euros. The case was brought to the court by the family of the journalist, who was murdered in 2006. The press release of the European Court of Human Rights states: The Court found in particular that while the authorities had found and…

Kosovo: Advanced draft law to protect whistleblowers adopted

While the European Union is currently discussing the details to better protect whistleblowers at the EU level, Kosovo steps out introducing one of the most advanced laws in Europe to protect whistleblowers. Government of Kosovo has passed the draft law to the General Assembly for adoption on 14 June this year. The General Assembly will be voting on adoption in autumn this year. Being one of the top countries in struggle against corruption, as reported by the Freedom House, the aim of this legislation is to safeguard the possibility to inform and report wrongdoings inside the companies while ensuring the possibility to…

Spain: Photojournalist Jordi Borrás attacked in Barcelona

The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) joined their Spanish affiliates in condemning the physical attack against photojournalist Jordi Borrás on 16 July after his coverage of a political event in Barcelona. Both Federations demand an immediate investigation on the attack and hold the aggressor accountable. According to the Federación de Sindicatos de Periodistas (FeSP) statement, the photojournalist, working for the newspaper El Món, was walking through Barcelona’s city center after a political event, when a man recognised him and approached him shouting “viva Franco” and “viva España”. Then, the man assaulted the photojournalist and punched him in the face. Borrás…

Italy: Several journalists facing threats related to their stories

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) have raised their concerns over the repetitive attacks and acts of intimidation against journalists in Italy in the last few weeks. They stand in solidarity with their Italian affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale Della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), and the Italian journalists who are experiencing those threats. On 12th of July investigative journalist Marilù Mastrogiovanni of Sicilian newspaper Il Tacco was targeted with death threats flooding her work email. Il Tacco reported that this was not the journalist’s first case of intimidation, and that the level of protection for her and her family had been increased. The local authorities are investigating the situation along…

Belarus: Freelance journalist Dzmitry Halko sentenced to four years in low-security prison colony

UPDATE 18.07.2018 Dzmitry Halko, the freelance journalist on trial after allegedly assaulting a police officer in November 2017, was sentenced to four years in a low-security prison colony and will have to pay a compensation of 850 Belarusian rubles to the victims, reports the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ). Journalist has appealed the decision. During the hearing, Halko’s lawyer drew attention to circumstances of the case, which might be related to Halko’s professional work and critical views towards the government. The EFJ supports BAJ in strongly condemning the decision of Belarusian legislative authorities against the journalist Dzmitry Halko. ——————————————– Freelance journalist Dzmitry Halko is facing charges for assaulting a policeman, but…

“Words That Matter” – glossary by Cyprian journalists to address local issues

On 10th of July in Nicosia, the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFOM) in cooperation with the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), and three journalist associations, including EFJ affiliates Basin-Sen and Union of Cyprus Journalists,  has published “Words That Matter“, a trilingual glossary in English, Greek, and Turkish, to list phrases and words, used by the journalists in communities, which may be taken sensitively. The glossary resulted from a common effort between the organisations to minimise hate speech in journalism, as well as trying to overcome the long-lasting tensions between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.…

Turkey : Three newspapers and one TV station closed by decree-law

On July 9, 2019, the Turkish government issued a decree-law firing 18,632 civil servants due to their alleged ties to “terrorist groups” and closing 12 associations, three newspapers and one TV station. The decree also dismissed 199 academics, some of whom were among the signers of the Academics for Peace initiative, which called on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the country’s Southeast, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and some hundred thousand displaced people. Among the closed newspapers, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi had been seized by the government in March when trustees were appointed to the board. Özgürlükçü Demokrasi,…

Turkey: Zaman journalists and columnists heavily sentenced to prison

On July 06, 2018, six journalists and columnists have been heavily sentenced to prison by a court in Istanbul for alleged membership to an armed illegal terrorist organisation. The suspects were all working for the late Zaman daily newspaper banned by the Turkish authorities following the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. “Our colleagues from Zaman newspaper did not take part to the coup attempt and have condemned it afterwards. Prosecuting workers solely on the basis of their work employment is not ruling based on facts but a politically motivated decision. The Turkish authorities must drop all the charges…

Ukraine: Draft bill to allow blocking of Internet sites without a court order

On 4 July 2018, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on security and defence approved a draft bill that would enable prosecution and the National Security and Defence Council to block Internet sites they deem threatening to national security without a court ruling. According to the bill, Internet sites, can be blocked temporarily if they “threaten national security” or “have an impact on decision-making, or the action or inaction, of national or local government bodies, officials of these bodies, associations of citizens, or legal entities”. Internet providers would have to purchase equipment that would allow the security services to monitor traffic and…

European Authors call on MEPs to maintain their strong support to authors’ rights

The European organisations representing authors have acknowledged the decision of the European Parliament to postpone the adoption of its position on the Copyright Directive. The Authors’ Group now calls on MEPs to maintain their strong and cross-party support to reinforce the contractual position of authors in Europe so that the Copyright Directive can soon bring concrete benefits to authors’ rights in the European Union. The Authors’ Group represents more than half a million writers, composers, journalists, film directors, screenwriters and songwriters in Europe. Today, the European Parliament decided to postpone the adoption of its position on a Proposal for a Directive…

Russia passes new law to label individual journalists as “foreign agents”

The European Federation of Journalists  (EFJ) has criticised a new law passed on 3 July by the Russian State Duma’s information and communication committee to label individual journalists as “foreign agents”. Back in November 2017, the EFJ had heavily criticised Russia for adopting the so-called “foreign agent media law” allowing the authorities to label foreign media organisations as “foreign agents”. The new law goes even further. According to media reports, it will allow the authorities to label journalists and bloggers as “foreign agents”. In addition, it will also allow the authority to blocked websites or other media without a court ruling.…

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