Hungary: two media outlets forced to close following Orbán’s electoral win

Radio station Lánchíd Rádió as well as Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet have shut down on 10 and 11 April 2018. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is appalled by the latest developments following Orbán’s electoral win, which further narrows media pluralism in Hungary. The Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet and its online version were forced to close yesterday due to financial reasons. A sudden increase in rent of the publishing buildings, whose owners are reported to be close to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orbán, led it to cease its media production.  The Hungarian radio station Lánchíd Rádió…

EFJ meets Slovak journalists in aftermath of Ján Kuciak’s murder

The director of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Renate Schroeder met with a group of Slovak journalists from various Slovak media on 11 April in the European Parliament to discuss the current situation of journalists in Slovakia and what must be done to better protect (investigative) journalists. The meeting “Slovakia and Malta: killed journalists. What is changing in Europe?” organised by the Information Office of the European Parliament in Slovakia brought together 15 Slovak journalists from  TV Markiza, TV TA3. RTVS- public TV and radio, TV JOJ, Daily SME , Daily DennikN, daily PRAVDA and press agency TASR. Nora Wehofsits, advocacy…

Fact-finding mission report to the Baltics published

A new report about the fact-finding mission conducted by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), which investigated the media situation in Estonia and Lithuania from 22 to 24 January, was published on 9 April 2018. Members of the mission interviewed almost 30 experts: representatives of the government, academia, press councils, public service media, journalists‘ organisations, investigative journalists, editors-in-chief and CEOs of major media companies. The two Baltic states were chosen in the wake of a wave of disinformation spread by Russian specialists during the US election campaign. The question, whether the comparatively small societies…

Serbian journalists attacked by police in Kosovo

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Serbian affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Serbia (SINOS), the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in condemning the attacks on Serbian cameraman Vladimir Milic as well as journalists Dragana Zecevic and Radmila Komazec on 26 March 2018 in Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo. They were covering a meeting of the local community about the Kosovo dialogue in the Mitrovica Community Centre. The level of violence was very high as shown in this reportage. Milic, who works for the public television Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), was reportedly attacked by Kosovar policemen who…

Norwegian Union of Journalists signs freelance framework agreement

The Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association (MBL) signed an unprecedented  framework agreement for freelance journalists with the Norwegian affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists, the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), concerning purchase, sale and copyrights of freelance materials on Wednesday, 21 March 2018.  The NJ had been in negotiations with the MBL to establish this framework agreement since April 2016. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure predictable frameworks for freelance jobs. The framework agreement will take effect on 1 April 2018. It requires an individual agreement to be concluded between the freelancer and the employer. The NJ and the MBL will prepare templates for  agreements which…

EFJ Workshop: Digital journalism and new business models

36 journalists, union leaders and media experts from 20 European countries discussed issues around new business models and trends in (digital) journalism from 15-16 March 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany. With great enthusiasm participants explored recent trends in journalism,  successful new models in financing journalism and the role of unions and associations to best service their members in this process of change. The first panel “What is trending in journalism” included academics, publishers and an editor in chief from a local newspaper, all giving interesting insights in changes in the media eco-system,  its impact on the work of journalists, use of…

EFJ urges EU Parliament to protect right of access to information after Kuciak’s murder

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined 61 civil society organisations on 13 March 2018 in a letter to the European Parliament calling for stronger safeguards for journalists and citizens who exercise their right of access to information in the wake of murdered Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak. The statement was sent to all 751 Members of the European Parliament in preparation of a plenary debate on “Protection of investigative journalists in Europe: the case of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová” in Strasbourg on 14 March 2018. The letter underlines the importance of the right to access to information in fighting…

Media Against Hate Conference calls for higher ethical standards and effective self-regulation in journalism

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) held the final conference of the 18-month campaign ”Media Against Hate” to counter hate speech in the media in Brussels, on 5-6 March 2018. The conference was attended by around 60 participants from all over Europe including journalists, community media, media regulators, journalists’ unions, IT companies and policymakers. Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media opened the conference with a keynote speech. He emphasised high ethical standards in journalism and effective self-regulation are key to combat hate speech and disinformation in the media. Mr. Désir said, ” This is a challenging…

Switzerland: Clear votum for public service media

For the two EFJ member organisations in Switzerland,  impressum and syndicom the very clear no to “No Billag” confirms that the Swiss population wants to preserve quality media. 71% voted against #Nobillag in yesterday’s referendum. The “No Billag” initiative – a reference to the Billag firm that collects the media licensing fee – divided Switzerland along political and generational lines. The majority of the population does not want to set aside public service media and is aware that media pluralism is in danger, if one can only rely on private and commercial media, says syndicom. The public referendum against «No Billag» has confirmed the…

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights concerned about safety of journalists in Serbia

“Serbia has to establish an adequate environment for media work” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, following a four-day follow-up visit to the country carried out from 19 to 22 February 2018. As concerns freedom of the media, the Commissioner noted the agreement of all media actors that he met that Serbia has a solid legislative framework governing this field. ”Serbia also has great investigative journalists, some of whom have been presented with prestigious international awards. The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, whose importance for investigative journalists’ work cannot be overstated, is a…

EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

Responding today to the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions, Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, welcomed some important improvements, although this reform is not the game-changer unions needed or expected. “Many of the provisions in this new measure, replacing the Written Statement Directive, represent a significant improvement. For example, all workers will be entitled to a written statement from the first day of employment. This means seasonal agriculture, domestic, on-demand, intermittent, voucher-based and platform workers will be effectively covered. And the Directive goes further in proposing very helpful provisions to ensure that online platforms…