#ECPMF conference e-book: how to improve freedom of expression

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) issued an e-book with proceedings and conclusions of their recent conference, organised on 24 March in Strasbourg. Carried out with the support of the Council of the Europe (CoE), the event promoted the dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and media freedom groups, especially on the ECtHR’s recent case law relating to freedom of expression, media and journalism. The speakers at the conference presented their views on three main themes, now summed up in the e-book: defamation, privacy and the processing of personal data; investigative journalism in relation…

Urgent need for states to step up efforts to address safety of journalists

Journalists and human rights defenders, academics and civil society representatives gathered in Vilnius (Lithuania) on Monday to discuss with state officials and decision-makers how to guarantee the safety of journalists. The conference, The Safety of Journalists – New Challenges and Responses, was opened by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was represented by its General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “We should be far away from any censorship or prohibitions. We have to create conditions and we have to protect journalists because safety is important not only for the journalists themselves, but also for the statehood, for…

The Council of Europe recommends its member states to recognise ‘a right to whistleblowing’

In a resolution, followed by a recommendation adopted on 27 June 2017, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly encourages the Member States to provide “adequate protection to whistleblowers” in order to better fight corruption. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes this resolution which recognises investigative journalism as a “public asset” and push for more recognition and support to ensure the public’s widest possible access to information. “We are glad to see that the EFJ views on the issue were heard. The voting result are impressive: it was almost unanimously voted as only one participant abstained and one voted against,…

Colloquium on the role of media actors in confronting terrorism

Draft concept paper and programme Context In recent times, journalists and other media professionals have faced great challenges when covering repeated terror attacks. New dynamics of terrorism and the move to an increasingly digital and social media environment, with its wide reach and unprecedented speed with which information spreads across online channels, in particular pose a serious challenge to reporting on the issue. Comprehensive standards set out by the Council of Europe (Committee of Ministers and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) and the European Court of Human Rights’ case law provide firm leading principles for journalists and other…

Albania: Two media outlets and four journalists sued by judge

Two defamation lawsuits have been launched on June 9 by Gjin Gjoni, a member of the High Council of Justice in Albania. They target the daily Shqiptarja.com along with its journalists Adriatic Doci and Elton Qyno, as well as the Balkan Investigative Reporting in Albania (BIRN) and reporters Besar Likmeta and Aleksandra Bogdani. The latter two journalists are both winners of the prestigious CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism. Gjoni and his wife Elona Caushi are seeking a total of 7 million lek (€52,000) in damages, for three stories published by BIRN over the last year, related to an investigation…

Council of Europe documents unwarranted interference, fear, self-censorship

In many European countries journalists are under pressure, facing a variety of threats from governments, bosses and advertisers. The Council of Europe is marking World Press Freedom Day by underlining its support for independent journalism, free from unwarranted influence whatever the source. Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland is publishing his annual report on the state of democracy and human rights in Europe. This year he focuses on several new topics, including the rise of populism and the spreading of fake news. Also published today, a new survey sponsored by the Council of Europe into the prevalence of unwarranted…

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”…

Greece: two journalists harrassed by far-right wing supporters

On 27 February 2017, the European Federation of Journalists submitted the following alert to the Council of Europe platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists: On 20 February 2017, two journalists were harassed by far-right wing protesters while reporting live in Thessaloniki, Greece. Maria Travlou, who works for the public broadcaster ERT3, and Eleni Latrou, for the private station Skai TV, were insulted and stopped from doing their job by some men and women part of the so-called “Patriots’ Organisation” demonstrating outside a school. They were preventing refugee children from attending classes. The protesters covered the…

CoE Memorandum on media freedom calls Turkey to lift the state of emergency

“There is an urgent need to restore freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey. The closure of more than 150 media organisations since the coup attempt and the continuous detention of around 150 journalists had the huge chilling effect on the state of fundamental rights in Turkey”, said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks who published today (15/02/2017) a detailed Memorandum on freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey based on the findings of two visits to the country in April and September 2016. In a interview with the EFJ, the Commissioner insisted that the…

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