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State-funded Russian broadcaster RT complained on Monday that National Westminster Bank (NatWest) had withdrawn its banking services in Britain without explanation.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…

EFJ and IFJ discussed media freedom in Turkey with CoE Secretary General Jagland

The presidents of the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) and the representatives of the other partner organisations of the Council of Europe Platform for the Safety of Journalists met with the Council of Europe´s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, yesterday, in Strasbourg, to discuss the possible follow up to the media freedom alerts published on the Platform with regard to Turkey in the aftermath of the 15 July failed coup. The Secretary General briefed them on the Council of Europe actions so far and on-going co-operation with Turkey, as a member state of the organisation. Since the coup attempt, the…

Greece: auction for TV licenses threatens media pluralism

Update (27/10/2016): On 26 October 2016, the Council of State ruled the TV licence law unconstitutional. ———————- The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backs its Greek affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), to denounce the closure of four out of the eight private TV channels, leading to thousands of job losses, after the decision of the Greek government to launch a multi-million euro auction for four private TV licences despite protests by broadcasters and journalists. The EFJ strongly supports the mobilisation of media workers in the protest to safeguard media pluralism and independent journalism in Greece. Early this year, the Greek government has passed…

Croatia: Reports highlights media freedom in turbulent times

Media freedom in Croatia is facing turbulent times with excessive political influence, concluded by an international mission in a report published on 9 August.  The report published by the International Press Institute (IPI) highlighted that the political crisis in the country has put journalists and media freedom at risk resulting in the lack of independence of public media, increase in legal restrictions and physical attacks on journalists. The report listed a series of findings from the international mission back in June 21 – 23 carried out by the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). The mission included representatives from the…

Excessive restrictions on foreign broadcasters in Moldova

The European Federation of Journalists is strongly opposed to restrictions on foreign broadcasters in Moldova. The amendments to the Audio-visual Code under consideration by the Parliament in Moldova run counter to international standards on media freedom. On 7 July, the Parliament adopted, in the first reading, amendments to the Audio-visual Code of the Republic of Moldova. The amendments proposed by the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party, members of the ruling coalition, aim to limit broadcasts in foreign languages or those originating from abroad. Ricardo Gutiérrez, the EFJ general secretary, participated to a public debate organised by the chairman of the Parliament…

Mapping Media Freedom report: journalists increasingly attacked in Europe

Violence against journalists in Europe increased in the second quarter of 2016, reports submitted to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform show, as a government crackdown in Turkey intensified and protests turned violent in countries from France to Finland. Between 1 April and 30 June 2016, Mapping Media Freedom’s network of 18 correspondents and other journalists submitted a total of 341 verified reports of violations of press freedom to the database, a 13% rise over the first quarter of 2016. The platform — a joint undertaking with the European Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, partially funded by the European Commission…