The CoE adopted resolution on attacks against journalists

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Tuesday discussed the rising levels of violence against journalists, particularly in Turkey, Russia and Azerbaijan. Ukrainian MP Volodymyr Ariev (EPP/CD), pictured above, presented the report, where he drew attention to the death of 16 journalists and the arrest of 150 media employees since January 2015 in member States. Mr. Ariev spoke about the deterioration of media freedom in Turkey and called for “release from detention all journalists who have not been indicted for actively participating in terrorist acts”. He also raised concerns on the media situation in Crimea and eastern parts of Ukraine.…

OSCE Representative condemns deterioration of media freedom in conflict-affected parts of Ukraine

The Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović condemned today the worsening situation with media freedom and safety of journalists in areas not controlled by the Ukrainian government. This comment followed the recent report by OSCE Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, where among others he spoke about the limitation of freedom of expression in the region. The OSCE Chief Monitor mentioned ban of over 350 websites and restrictions against Ukrainian media outlets. Mijatović noted that threats and intimidation of media workers along with the arrest of bloggers Eduard Nedelyaev and Gennadiy Benitskiy are particular worrying cases. She added: Access…

Social media need “self-regulation, education and literacy, not new restrictions”, says Dunja Mijatović in a report

The Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Dunja Mijatović, published today her regular report to the Permanent Council from March 2016. She expressed great concerns about the safety of journalists and fake news on social media. Here are some excerpts. On the safety of journalists: As you all know, unfortunately safety of journalists continues to dominate my agenda. Impunity for killings, attacks and threats prevails. This must stop. In order to assist the participating States in monitoring progress on fighting impunity for killings of journalists my Office has prepared a…

Germany: The BND draft law must protect journalists

The European Federations of Journalists (EFJ), along with its German affiliates – the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV) and the DeutscheJournalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union in ver.di (dju in ver.di) – urges the German Bundestag to back off on the revision of the Bundesnachrichtendienst –BND law, following the strong opposition of many media organisations and the OSCE. The draft law foresees to increase BND’s capabilities to spy on non-EU citizens outside of Germany. No exemption is made for foreign journalists or editorial offices outside the European Union: they would be subjected to surveillance without an explicit court order. This law would legitimise a practice…

Death threats against Serbian journalists must be investigated

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliates – the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Association of Macedonian Journalists, Association of BiH Journalists, Association of Kosovo Journalists, Union of Montenegro Media and Independent Association of Serbian Journalists – to strongly condemn the brutal death threats against Nedim Sejdinović, President of Independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists (NDNV) and Dinko Gruhonjić, NDNV Program director. Threats were sent by anonymous letter to NDNV in Novi Sad (Serbia). The letter called on Sejdinović to resign as President of the Independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists if he and his colleague, Dinko Gruhonjić, do no want to “be found swimming in the Danube”. Hate…

Kosovo public broadcaster RTK attacked by hand grenade

The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) stand in solidarity with their affiliate the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AGK) after the attack targeting at the public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) in Pristina. On Monday 22 August, a hand grenade was thrown into the yard of the main building, close to the transmission antennas. Some journalists were working inside the building at the time of the explosion but no injuries were reported. The attackers are currently unknown. “We ask the Kosovo Police and other competent authorities to urgently investigate the case in order to identify the perpetrators”, said Shkelqim Hysenaj, President…

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…

European Union journalists meet their Russian colleagues

A group of European Union journalists and editors have met their Russian counterparts in St Petersburg on Monday and Tuesday at a seminar entitled “The Role of Editorial Standards in Safeguarding Independent Journalism”. The meeting was hosted by the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) with support from regional journalistic organisations and media outlets, in association with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The event is part of an initiative spearheaded by the EU Delegation to the Russian Federation. The president of RUJ, Vsevolod Bogdanov, and the head of press and the official Spokesperson for the European Union Delegation in Russia,…

Mijatović: Journalists’ safety still the main issue plaguing media freedom

The safety of journalists remains the main threat to media freedom in the OSCE region, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said today during her visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. During her visit, Mijatović also participated in the European Federation of Journalists’ General Meeting held in Sarajevo and delivered the keynote speech at the event. “Any rational discussion about the state of media freedom must begin with an analysis of the state of the safety of journalists,” Mijatović told some 100 delegates from journalist federations from across Europe. “It is unacceptable that journalists every day are…

Freedom of the media more important than ever

by Mogens Blicher Bjerregård – EFJ President The truth is the first victim of a conflict, and right now, we have such victims in Europe. Most recently, the amendment in the Polish media law turning publish service media into more state control. As well, the record list counts the Hungarian media law removing the self-regulation system, public service media under attack in Spain and more dramatically, journalists beaten and jailed in bunches in countries like Turkey and Azerbaijan. More state control of the media will allow more hate speech leading to propaganda as seen during the conflict between Russia and…

EFJ calls for action to tackle harassment of female journalists

“We must support our female colleagues, defend them and make their voices heard. Harassment and abuses targeting at female journalists shall not be tolerated,” said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, the EFJ President after the OSCE meeting on online abuses of female journalists on 17 November in Vienna. The conference has gathered international experts in the field to help increase understanding and gravity of the issue  involved best practices and possible solutions to tackle the mounting number of online threats targeting female journalists. During the meeting, experts and journalists spoke about the gravity of the issue and called for urgent action to…