Polish government to restrict journalists’ access to parliament

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today strongly condemned the latest attack on media freedom by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to restrict media access parliament. Several thousand people have protested on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Warsaw over the government’s plans to impose restrictions on media coverage of parliament. The rules proposed by the head office of the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, will ban all recording of parliamentary sessions. Only five selected Polish TV stations will be allowed to record or broadcast parliamentary sessions. The new rules will also limit the number of journalists allowed…

Coalition of journalists and press organisations highlight importance of defending press freedom on World Press Freedom Day

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, offers an opportunity to highlight the importance of defending press freedom worldwide, as it is an essential component of any democracy. The European Magazine Media Association, in cooperation with an alliance of national, European and international media and journalist organisations, is organizing a conference, “(R)EVOLUTION OF EUROPE’S PRESS”, on 1 July 2016 in this year’s European Capital of Culture, Wroclaw, Poland. The event will bring together press publishers, politicians, journalists, academics, start-ups and technology experts to discuss a holistic view of real and potential threats for press freedom in Europe. World Press Freedom Day…

Commissioner Muižnieks calls on Poland to protect the independence of public media

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, issued a statement today, at the end of a four-day visit to Poland. He expressed concerns at the adoption in December 2015 of transitional legislation in the field of public service media, pending the adoption of a wider reform in this area, expected before the summer 2016. “Placing public service media under direct government control by giving the latter the powers to appoint and dismiss the members of the supervisory and management boards of public service television and radio contradicts Council of Europe standards which notably require that public service media…

EFJ-ECPMF-IPI urge the Polish government to guarantee public broadcasting independence

WARSAW, Feb 1, 2015 – The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the International Press Institute (IPI) completed a two-day fact-finding mission to Poland by calling on Polish journalists to stand together in defence of principles of press and media freedom. The group’s call came after the newly elected Polish government rushed through controversial changes to the country’s public service broadcaster that have deeply divided the journalistic community. The changes, in the form of an amendment to the Media Law, allow the Minister of State Treasury to directly appoint and dismiss…

Polish journalists wiretapped by secret police between 2014 and 2015

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has backed its affiliate in Poland, the Association of Polish Journalists (SDP)’s call for investigation and preventative measures following the wiretapping scandal on journalists and leading political figures in Poland. A recent internal audit has revealed that around 80 individuals were under surveillance by two secret police units in Poland, including journalists and lawyers reporting on the affair, as well as their family members. According to media reports, one of the units oversaw the tapping and infiltrating the journalists and their contacts while the second looked into whether secret services (ABW and CBA agencies)…

Commission launches action against Poland following EU-wide protest

Journalists, broadcasters and media freedom organisations have gathered this morning (13/01/2016) in front of the Polish Embassy in Brussels protesting against new attempt by the Polish government to control the media while the European Commission was discussing possible action against Poland. The EFJ has been heavily criticising the new law in the past weeks accusing Poland of violating European law on media freedom. It has written to the European Commission calling for prompt action against Poland. Today, the European Commission has discussed the first time at its college meeting the case of Poland and decided to launch action against Poland under…

Poland threatens media freedom in Europe

First Hungary and now is Poland threatening Europe’s media freedom. Regardless of the safeguard of European Fundamental Rights charter and declaration, governments attempt to influence media will inevitably threaten our democracies.   On Thursday 7 January, the president of Poland ignored core EU fundamental rights including press freedom by signing one of the most criticized media laws in the history of the EU. Following that, the EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger has openly criticized Poland for infringing “common European values” by passing legislation that gives the government control of the state media and the power to directly appoint the heads of…

The Polish media law is signed: our letter to EU Commissioner Oettinger

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has signed today a controversial state media law. Prior to the next weekly meeting by the college of Commissioners on 13 January, 2016 in which the European Commissioners will discuss both the developments of the Constitutional Court and the media law in Poland, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has sent the following letter to Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Commissioner Günther Oettinger, responsible for the digital economy and society, said on Sunday Poland should be put under the EU’s rule of law supervision, a three-step procedure consisting of a Commission assessment, a Commission recommendation and a follow-…

CoE Secretary General expresses his concern regarding the Polish media law

The Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has written yesterday to Polish President Andrzej Duda expressing his concern regarding the legislative draft on public service broadcasting and its possible impact on the integrity and independence of public TV and radio in Poland. The letter mentions the alert submitted to the Coe Platform for the Protection of Journalism by the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ, IFJ) and other “prominent European journalist and freedom of expression associations” (AEJ, Article 19, CPJ, Index on Censorship, RSF). Thorbjørn Jagland invites the Polish authorities to submit the draft law for assessment by…

16 journalists and media staff killed in Europe in 2015

2015 has been another deadly year for journalists, with at least 109 journalists and media staff killed in targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents, according to the annual report published today by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The IFJ 2015 list names the 109 journalists and media staff killed across 30 countries, together with 3 who died of accidental deaths. It marks a small drop from last year when 118 killings and 17 accidents were recorded. In Europe, 16 journalists and media staff were killed in 2015: 11 in France, 2 in Ukraine, 1 in Azerbaijan, 1 in…

Poland: we are outraged by the abolition of safeguards for pluralism and independence in public service media

The undersigned press freedom and media organisations – European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Association of European Journalists (AEJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Index on Censorship – are outraged by the proposed bill, hastily introduced by the majority party in Poland yesterday (29 December) for immediate adoption, without any consultation, abolishing the existing safeguards for pluralism and independence of public service media governance in Poland. The introduction of a system whereby a government minister can appoint and dismiss at its own discretion the supervisory and management boards goes against basic principles and established…

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