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…

Polish media reform to exert more control on public service broadcaster

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today expressed growing concerns over recent announcements by the newly elected government to introduce a new law on public media in the coming months with the aim to exert more control on public service broadcasting media and to “repolonise” print media. Following the newly elected conservative government (“Right and Justice” (PiS) in Poland in October, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has given Culture Minister, Mr Piotr Glinski, the responsibility on media policy. In a recent interview given by Mr Glinski, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, he announced that a new media law…

Poland: Journalist Lukasz Masiak beaten to death

According to the Association of Polish Journalists (Stowarzyszenie Dziennikarzy Polskich, SDP), an affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Polish journalist Lukasz Masiak (31) working for the popular local newsportal NaszaMlawa.pl has been beaten to death in the night of 13 to 14 June 2015 in the city center of Mlawa, a town located in north-central Poland. “Lukasz Masiak was an esteemed and courageous journalist working for a local newsportal. We are very sadened to learn his death and deeply concerned that decisive response of law enforcement authorities comes only after the murder of the journalist,” said the SDP representative. “We send our…

Polish journalists acquitted following 24-hour detention

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Polish Journalists Association (SDP) have welcomed the acquittal of two journalists, Jan Pawlicki and Tomasz Gzell who were arrested on 20 November during the coverage of a post-election demonstration in Warsaw. According to the EFJ affiliate, SDP, the police arrested TV reporter for TV Republika, Jan Pawlicki and the press photographer Tomasz Gzell of Polish Press Agency, in a demonstration where a group of activists entered and occupied the State Electoral Commission on 20 November. During the arrest, the journalists showed their press cards proving that they were not among the occupiers…