EP Public hearing – Role of Independent Public Service Media for Democracy in Europe

Independence of Public Service Media (PSM) in Europe is under increased pressure in a number of the EU Member States. Destabilization of this democratic institution in the context of the overall challenges in Europe and weakening of other democratic institutions, such as political parties represents a real threat to the democracy in Europe. The PSM in Hungary is under the full control of Orban. In 2016 a political cleansing took place in the public service broadcaster in Poland followed by a political purge in the Croatian broadcaster. Recently the Czech Television is under pressure for rejection of their annual report,…

Austrian Interior Ministry attempts to restrict freedom of press

The intention of the Austrian Interior Ministry to restrict communication to “critical media” has been revealed in an email leaked to the press on Tuesday 25 September. In the four pages email, top ministry spokesman Christoph Pölzl, explicitly demanded regional police to “restrict communication with these media to only the most necessary (legally required) degree”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Austria, GPA-djp and Younion, in condemning this attack on press freedom. The media labeled as “critical” include the dailies Der Standard and Kurier as well as the weekly Falter. According to the Ministry, they have “operated…

Turkey: Austrian journalist Max Zirngast arrested in Ankara

UPDATE 24.09.2018: On 21 September, Max Zirngast has been formally arrested with the accusation of  being a member in the leftist TKP/Kıvılcım group, which Turkey has banned and considers a terrorist organization. Austrian journalist Max Zirngast has been detained together with two other Turkish citizens, in the early hours of 11 September by anti-terror authorities in his apartment in Ankara, Turkey. The reason for detention has not been published yet, but according to media reports, he could have been detained on charges of “support for a terrorist organization” and because of his “political publications”. Allegations might be related to his civil and political activism against…

EFJ calls on Austrian government to protect public service media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) sent a letter to Gernot Blümel, Austrian Minister for the European Union (EU), Art, Culture and Media on 7 June 2018 to urge him to support the Austrian public service media (ORF). The EFJ annual meeting, which took place yesterday in Lisbon with affiliates, journalists and trade unionists from around 40 countries, unanomously adopted the resolution “On the situation of Austrian public service media with letter to the Austrian governement” calling on the Austrian government to ensure the future of the public service media. We stand in solidarity with our Austrian affiliate the Union of…

Cyprus must improve access to information law, says EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined Access Info Europe (AIE) in calling the Cypriot Government to improve its draft access to information law in order to meet international transparency standard. According to the global Right to Info Rating, the Republic of Cyprus freedom of information bill is set to become one of the worst in Europe. Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) studied the draft text using the 61 indicators of the Right to Information Rating and found that Cyprus scores a dismal 57 points (out of 150) which positions itself near the buttom…