View of the Italian Senate during the debate about same-sex couples civil union, prior to the final vote, in Rome, on February 25, 2016. 
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is bowing to Catholic pressure to remove stepchild adoption rights from the civil unions bill to ease its passage through parliament -- to the fury of gay rights groups. Renzi has called for a vote of confidence on the draft law and without the stepchild clause. / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Italy: draft bill to tighten criminal penalties for defamation

The International and European Federations of Journalists strongly condemn the draft amendment to the Italian Penal Code which will increase the criminal penalties for those accused of defamation against members of the political class, the judiciary or public administration. The EFJ and its Italian member, FNSI, call on Italian authorities to decriminalize defamation. The EFJ and IFJ have submitted today an alert on the issue on the Council of Europe of the Platform for the Protection of Journalism. A committee of the Italian Senate voted unanimously on 3 May 2016, a draft amendment to the Penal Code which will increase the criminal…

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Nordic Freelance Conference: The Significance of Independent Voices

The Norwegian Freelance Journalist Union (NJ Frilans) hosted the Nordic Freelance Seminar, which is held once a year,  in Ilsetra, Norway on 20-22 May. The over 100 participants were freelance journalists from EFJ affiliates in Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The aim of the seminar was  networking and sharing experience, discussing recent trends both regarding ever more precarious working conditions for freelances and new technological tools to advance storytelling and journalism by getting closer to the audience. Frank Aarebrot, professor of comparative politics at the University of Bergen in his opening speech adviced the community to demand public funding to…

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A silent problem: 4 stories on the threat of (self-)censorship

Hungary It all started with a simple question. Janos Karpati, then Brussels correspondent for the Hungarian national newswire, didn’t think it would terminate his longtime career when he addressed the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban at a press conference at the fringes of the European Parliament’s plenary meeting in Strasbourg. Orban had come to Strasbourg to speak about migration – and his widely-criticized comment on reinstating the death penalty. Karpati, an experienced correspondent who has worked in Prague and Washington, DC, asked Orban about Fidesz’ position within the European People’s Party, a question he hadn’t cleared with anyone beforehand. He…

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 29, 2012 shows Honoree Khadija Ismayilova attending the 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards hosted by the International Women's Media Foundation held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, California.   
Azerbaijan's top court on May 25, 2016 ordered the release of prominent investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who was jailed on corruption charges last year that triggered an international uproar, her lawyer said. / AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Jason Merritt

Azerbaijan: Journalist Khadija Ismayilova released on probation

The International and European Federations of Journalists welcome the Azerbaijani Supreme Court’s decision today to release investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who had been imprisoned on trumped-up charges since December 2014. The court converted Ismayilova’s jail term into a three-and-a half-year suspended term. Khadija Ismayilova has already served 1.5 years in prison, held on politically motivated charges for her work exposing corruption. She now faces 3.5 years on probation, and a two-year ban on professional activities. In September 2015, the Baku Court of Serious Crimes sentenced Ismayilova to seven-and-a-half years in prison on tax evasion and large-scale embezzlement charges. The IFJ…

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European Creators’ conference

How do we bring authors’ rights back to the core of the copyright debate? Where are authors in the EU copyright priorities? How can EU lawmakers ensure that authors get a fair share of their works and do not get ripped of by unfair contracts? To address these questions, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), is partnering with European organisations representing music composers (ECSA), writers (EWC), film directors (FERA) and Screenwriters (FSE) in a key conference on 31 May in Brussels addressing authors’ rights, freedom of expression and digital future. More about the conference: http://creatorsconference.org/home

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40 % of Serbian journalists wants to leave the profession

Journalists Union of Serbia (SINOS – EFJ affiliate) in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation held a seminar in Prolom Banja (Serbia) from 19 to 21 May. The theme of the was organising unions for media workers in Serbia and the Balkans countries. The participants talked about precarious work, legal and social status of journalists and the sustainability of trade unions in the media with multinational ownership problems. The President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Mogens Blicher Bjerregard spoke about the experience of organizing unions for journalists in different European Union member states. He stressed that progress is possible when…

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Europe follows worrying developments at the Radio Television of Vojvodina

Serbian media report that program director of RTV, Slobodan Arežina, was replaced, general director Srđan Mihajlović resigned under political pressure; 7 editors of news program of RTV were laid off; editor in chief of the Frist Program of the Television Novi Sad, Marjana Jović, resigned. Journalists’ and media associations in Serbia strongly condemned staff dismissals at the Radio Television of Vojvodina (RTV), the public service broadcaster of the autonomous province of Vojvodina (one of the two PSBs in Serbia). They stressed in a joint press release that the dismissals are a consequence of political pressure and instrumentalisation of this PSB…

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Turkey must stop feeding its environment of fear for journalists and trade unionists

Update (25th May): Our Turkish colleague Erol Önderoglu is also under criminal investigation for “terrorist propaganda” for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The EFJ and IFJ demand that all criminal charges be dropped against journalists involved in this campaign. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) is calling upon the presumptive upcoming Turkish Prime minister, Binali Yildirim, to end the climate of permanent judicial intimidation, threats, harassment, detention and physical assaults against journalists and media workers in Turkey. The EFJ is particularly underlining the fact that Turkish judicial authorities have recently opened an…

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Legalislative framework for investigative journalism need improvements

The Institute of European Media Law (EMR), consortium partner of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), has recently conducted a study on the state of media freedom and investigative journalism in Europe. The results published on 17 May 2016 show that restrictive rules for the development of press freedom remain a major obstacle in all countries. 1. Decriminalisation of journalism = Hungarian model Journalists might infringe the law while trying to obtain information. According to the report, all legal frameworks know limits to the freedom of obtaining information. Even though in many states courts take into consideration the importance of press freedom…

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Three-day conference to discuss the impacts of the digital revolution on work, 27-29 June, Brussels

A three-day conference will be held on 27-29 June 2016 in Brussels on the theme: “Shaping the new world of work – The impacts of digitalisation and robotisation”. Organised by the European Trade Union Confederation and the European Trade Union Institute, the conference will bring together over 400 representatives of trade unions, research bodies, academia, civil society, EU institutions and international organisations to discuss how the world and nature of work and employment is being changed radically by the digital revolution. Contrary to similar conferences, this event will not only focus on the quantity of work (‘will robots destroy our jobs?’) but also…

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Three RBC editors resign under political pressure from Kremlin

Three top editors from the Russian RBC media group announced their departure on 13 May as the political pressure against the independent media outlet grows in Russia. The International and European Federations of journalists (IFJ/EFJ) back their affiliate the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) in expressing concerns over the growing intimidation against the media in Russia. In a statement published on 13 May RBC said that the resignations of editor-in-chief Yelizaveta Osetinskaya, chief editor of the RBC newspaper Maxim Solyus, and chief editor of the RBC news agency Roman Badanin were due to “differences regarding the media company’s future and…

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