Kosovo: towards a better protection of the press for legislative proceedings

Shkelqim Hysenaj, the president of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), and researcher Petrit Collaku met on Wednesday 8 March with Aleksander Lumezi, the Kosovo’s State prosecutor, to discuss better protection for the journalists in the country. During the discussion, the AJK president shared his concerns regarding the inefficient justice system and the unsafe environment Kosovo represents for journalists. Shkelqim Hysenaj also presented to the state prosecutor the recommendations of the AJK report “The indicators of the level of media and journalists safety” published in December 2016. It recommends to improve the effectiveness of the justice system when dealing…

Albanian journalist Elvi Fundo attacked in Tirana

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemns the attack perpetrated against Elvi Fundo, director of Citynews.al online portal and Radio Best, on Wednesday 8 March 2017 in Tirana, Albania. According to media reports, Elvi Fundo was beaten up by unidentified assailants near the train station. He was later sent to the hospital. He declared to Balkan Insight, the news portal of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network: “Two individuals attacked me near my office at 10.30 am, causing injuries (…) I don’t believe it’s a political attack but the work of criminals financed by corrupt media clans tied to drug-trafficking.” Albanian…

The ethical aspect of “robot” journalism

“Any human being, who is involved in a natural language generation (NLG) process, such as programmers or linguists, must take into account the ethical dimensions governing journalism” concluded Laurence Dierickx, a specialist in Computational Journalism, who was invited to the EFJ Digital Expert Group meeting, that took place on March 8 in Brussels. She explained that the computer scientists and start-up companies, who are heavily involved in the NLG, are not hold under the same ethical standards as journalists. Also in cases with automatically generated content, there is not always a mention that the article is written by a computer, which…

How to deal with fake news? Debate in European Parliament

MEP Michal Boni (EPP, Poland) together with The Guardian Media Group launched a discussion ”News: fact or fake?” on March 7 in the European Parliament. During the meeting experts, moderated by a senior editor from the Guardian – Dan Roberts, discussed how the new technologies change the business model of news reporting and how the fake news and filter bubbles do impact  democracy. Michal Boni stated at the beginning of the meeting that it is important to understand how to react to fake news. He explained: “We don’t need censorship tools, instead we need to promote the better understanding of fake…

Declaration of March 2017 joint mission to Turkey

Türkçe Following an international press freedom mission to Turkey on 7 February to 2 March 2017, the undersigned participants, representing six international free expression watchdog organisations, express severe concern about media freedom and respect for human rights and warn that the country’s democracy is under threat. The mission came in response to an ongoing purge by Turkey’s government in the wake of a failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt that traumatized the country. Hundreds of thousands have been dismissed from jobs or detained under wide-ranging emergency powers granted after the coup attempt. This includes some 155 journalists and media workers…

Ukraine: about 100 jobs at risk following revocation of Radio Vesti’s licenses

The National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine revoked license of the Ukrainian broadcasting company “Radio Vesti” in Kharkiv city. The council also refused to extend the radio’s license in the capital, Kyiv. Radio Vesti, the largest national professional radio channel in the country, insists they sent the required documents on time in order to renew the licenses, which expired in February. Despite this, the National Council decided to revoke the licenses out of concerns that the ultimate beneficiary of the station was the former Minister of Revenue and Fees, Oleksandr Klymenko. Reports said that as a result,…

CoE Secretary General Jagland warns Turkey on journalists rights violations

Following the visit of Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland published a harsh press statement warning the member state on severe violations of journalists and parliamentarians rights. “It is imperative for Turkey and Europe that the judicial safeguards for all those who have been dismissed or are in prison are based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”, said the Secretary General. Making specifically reference to “the cases of journalists and parliamentarians that are in pre-trial detention”…

Macedonia: journalists attacked during protest

UPDATE (14.03.2017): Another attack against journalists happened on March 11 in Skopje. TV 24 crew was at first verbally abused and then one of their journalists Hristijan Banevski was hit in the head with a stick, during the protest “For a Unified Macedonia”. UPDATE (06.03.2017): Two more attacks against journalists took place in Macedonia after the TV crew was beaten during the protest. On March 1 Branko Trickovski was verbally abused by two young men near his home. The retired journalist is famous for his criticism of VMRO-DPMNE party. One of the attackers shouted at Trickovski and called him a traitor,…

Russia: police raided home of journalist and human rights activist Zoya Svetova

The home of Russian journalist and human rights activist Zoya Svetova was raided by the police on February 28. According to her lawyer Anna Stavitskaya, ten investigators and two representatives of Federal Security Bureau (FSB) entered the property in the morning and searched her computer, personal papers and books. Stavitskaya believes that the raid is connected to Yukos (the oil company) case for alleged tax evasion. She explained that Russian law enforcement agencies think that the proceeds are used to fund organisations and individuals, among them Svetova. The Moscow Times columnist is known for her work on prisoners’ rights in…

German Intelligence Agency spied on at least 50 foreign journalists, reveals Spiegel Online

On 24 February 2017, Spiegel Online reported in an article that the German foreign intelligence agency (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) apparently spied on at least 50 telephone and fax numbers or email addresses of journalists or newsrooms worldwide from 1999 onwards. According to documents seen by Spiegel, among the targets were the BBC in Afghanistan and London, the New York Times in Afghanistan, as well as mobile and satellite telephones of the news agency Reuters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Spiegel Online doesn’t mention the nature of the journalists’ work and the length of the surveillance. Last October, the German Bundestag has…

Abuse of the media in transitional countries

EFJ affiliates in Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are sending solidarity messages and support with journalists on strike in Macedonia. Please find below the letter sent to SSNM, the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers of Macedonia : Trade unions of journalists of Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia express full solidarity and support to SSNM (the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers of Macedonia) and to journalists of Utrinski vesnik, Dnevnik and Vest – three daily papers of the company Media print Macedonia (MPM) – who are in strike since 17 February 2017 due to unpaid salaries, obligatory contributions…