EU Parliament Resolution to tackle anti-EU Propaganda comes under criticism from journalists

Propaganda pressure on the EU from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups is growing, the European Parliament warned in a non-legislative resolution voted on Wednesday. To counteract so-called anti-EU campaigns, MEPs suggested reinforcing the EU’s “strategic communication” task force and investing more in awareness raising, media literacy, online and local media as well as investigative journalism. The resolution calls on EU member states to boost funding for counter-propaganda projects. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is not convinced by this controversial resolution. A total of 691 MEPs participated in the vote: 304 (44%) voted in favor of the resolution dubbed “EU…

EU colloquium called on Commission to protect whistleblowers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) attended on 17-18 November 2016 the second edition of EU colloquium on fundamental rights dedicated this year to media pluralism and democracy. Hosted by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-president said in his opening speech that “being a journalist has become one of the most dangerous professions worldwide. Being a journalist is dangerous because of the physical dangers, it’s dangerous because of all the abuse you get all the time – online and elsewhere – it’s dangerous also because you take huge risks with the sustainability of your finances since it also is…

Majority of EU citizens think media lack independence

The results of the 2016 Eurobarometer survey on “Media pluralism and independence” published today (17/11/16) – just in time with the EU Annual Colloqium on Fundamental rights on “Media pluralism and democracy” – show two worrying trends: a majority of EU citizens believe that the media in their countries lack independence ; and 75% of the respondents have experienced hate speech on social media. This survey aims at representing the state of media pluralism and independence across the European Union. The results highlight that, according to the Europeans, there is much work to be done in ensuring the independence of national media – a vital cornerstone of…

EBU Conference urges Parliaments to protect PSM independence

Over 100 delegates from 19 countries in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond came together in Prague last week to discuss the need to protect the independence and sustainability of public service media (PSM) in the face of numerous challenges. The conference was hosted by the Czech Parliament in Prague, and organized by the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Czech Television and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Public service broadcasters, Parliamentarians, regulators, diplomats, academics and experts from a range of organisations including the Council of Europe, Venice Commission, OSCE and the European Federation of…

Media Pluralism monitor now in 30 countries: worrying results

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was invited to the Final conference on “The Application of the Media Pluralism monitor (MPM2016) in 30 countries in Florence on 4 November. The preliminary, but almost finished results, gave some alarming trends, in particular when it comes to the journalistic profession including access, the role of unions and associations in protecting journalists, working conditions, safety and protection of sources. In Florence, #MPM2016 preliminary results show a range of risks for journalists working in Europe, particularly in S&SE Europe @CmpfEui pic.twitter.com/nVkdwAdrqR — JOURNALISM AT MDX (@JRNatMDX) November 4, 2016 The Media Pluralism Monitor 2016…

Turkey: international coalition slams Cumhuriyet arrests, media closures

Today, the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) joined a coalition of international media freedom organisations led by the International Press Institute (IPI), in condemning the closure of 15 pro-Kurdish media outlets and the arrests of Cumhuriyet journalists in a joint letter to Turkish officials. The letter called for government to cease abusing state of emergency decrees to restrict freedom of expression and for the immediate release of the detained Cumhuriyet journalists, as well as all other writers and journalists jailed in Turkey for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The letter can also be downloaded…

Turkish government shuts down 15 Kurdish media outlets

The Turkish government issued on Saturday 29 October a decree shutting down 15 Kurdish media outlets: 11 newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines. The latest closures bring the number of media outlets shut down under state of emergency in Turkey to 168. The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on 20 July, following the failed coup attempt on 15 July. This situation allows the government to close any media organization by issuing a cabinet decree. Here is the list of media outlets targeted by the decree issued on Saturday: Newspapers: Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Batman Çağdaş , Cizre Postası…

EFJ and IFJ in solidarity with staff of Népszabadság

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and News Media Europe expressed today in Brussels their solidarity with the journalists from the Hungarian independent newspaper “Népszabadság” (Freedom of the People). The decision to suspend publication of Hungary’s biggest left-leaning daily broadsheet came out of the blue two weeks ago without the knowledge of staff. Together with Anthony Bellanger, IFJ GS, Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ GS, participated today to a solidarity demonstration in Brussels, in front of the European Commission offices. “Nepszabadsag is dead, victim of a murder planned in advance,” said the daily Brussels correspondent Katalin Halmai. She explained…

UK Bank decided to block RT accounts

State-funded Russian broadcaster RT complained on Monday that National Westminster Bank (NatWest) had withdrawn its banking services in Britain without explanation. According to a letter featured on the RT site, the bank will withdraw the card facility on November 14. ”All accounts will be closed on December 12,” the letter continues. The incident would not prevent RT from working in the United Kingdom. NatWest wrote to the UK company that supplies services to RT, rather than the television network itself. The decision to block RT accounts was taken independently by the bank, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday. The Royal Bank of Scotland…

Worrying study on #mediafreedom and pluralism in 7 EU countries: Urgent EU action needed

The recently published study on  “A comparative analysis of media freedom and pluralism in the EU Member States“conducted research on Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy,Poland and Romania, all countries which have shown political pluralism at high risk, accompanied by heavy state interference in the media, or close economic ties between politics and media. The 175 pages long study starts with the premise that any attempt to address media freedom and pluralism on a European level should be “intrinsically connected to the issues of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights and should become part of a regular process of democratic…

Hungary’s biggest opposition newspaper shuts down

Publication of Hungary’s biggest opposition newspaper, Népszabadság (People’s Freedom), has been suspended. The paper’s owner company Mediaworks unexpectedly announced on Saturday it would suspend both the print and online editions. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) are shocked by this huge blow to media pluralism in Hungary. Around 2,000 Hungarians protested in Budapest on Saturday against the closure of the country’s leading leftist newspaper. Mediaworks, owned by Austrian firm Vienna Capital Partners, said the paper was operating at a “considerable” loss and struggled with dropping circulation. But civil rights groups said the newspaper had been shut down because it…

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