Report: Urgent action needed to protect press freedom in Europe

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. That is the alarming conclusion of a report launched today by the 12 partner organizations of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of Journalism and safety of journalists. The report, “Democracy at Risk”, analyses media freedom violations raised to the Platform in 2018. It provides a stark picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe, in which journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public. The 12 Platform partners…

Croatia: we call on HRT to withdraw claims targeting journalists’ representatives

The International and European  Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) call on the management of Croatian public broadcaster HRT to withdraw the recently filed lawsuits against the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND/CJA), its President Hrvoje Zovko and the President of the HND/CJA Branch at HRT, Sanja Mikleušević Pavić. Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, HRT managers filed lawsuits for alleged criminal offences against its honour and reputation by the Croatian Journalists’ Association, its President and the President of the CJA Branch at HRT. HRT claims a total financial compensation of 500,000 kunas (67,000 EUR). According to a report from NGO Osservatorio Balcani…

Joint letter to Lithuanian PM: demand to guarantee the full independence of LRT

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have jointly sent a letter today to the Prime Minister of Lithuania and the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament). EFJ and ECPMF demand that the government ensure the independence of the Lithuanian public broadcaster (LRT), as proposed changes to the law threaten to curtail it. Here is our joint letter to demand to guarantee the full independence of LRT: Dear Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Dear Viktoras Pranckietis, Copy: Ramunas Karbauskis, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Viktorija Cmilyte, Andrius Palionis, Julius Sabatauskas, Remigijus Zemaitaitis, Rita Tamasuniene We are…

Lithuania: EFJ urges Parliament to guarantee LRT independence

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on again Lithuanian Parliament to guarantee the full independence of public broadcaster LRT. The Director General of LRT, Monika Garbaciauskaite, issued today a letter expressing strong concern about proposed legal changes in LRT governance. A new draft law on LRT is to be debated by the Lithuanian Parliament on 11 January. “The latest developments that are now taking place may have a direct impact on LRT’s independence and at the same time pose serious threats to freedom of speech and democracy on the whole,” reacted Monika Garbaciauskaite. Following the report, issued on 12…

Finnish public broadcaster fights online hate speech with dialogue and respect

One of six Finnish journalists have received some form of threats connected to their professional work, revealed a survey, conducted by the Union of Journalists of Finland (UJF) in 2016. Among them, topics focusing on issues related to immigration, asylum seeking and Russian interference prompt the most negative response and the highest number of attacks against journalists online. The Finnish newsrooms developed a number of measures and protocols to address the rising issue of online harassment, which proved to be successful. One of the advanced steps has been implemented by the public broadcaster Yle by introducing community management, which is…

Which are the challenges and solutions for public service media?

Politicians with an agenda, managements on tight budgets and industry competitors under existential threats to malicious disseminators of falsehoods – it is a “perfect storm” of challenges for today’s public service news providers. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)’s new study addresses those changing demands, much of which were researched during a rapid tour of small group of European broadcasters in the spring 2017. The report highlighted some key trends. Economic pressure Broadcasters have to reallocate resources for new platforms in order to stay relevant, but at the same time their public funding is being squeezed. Pressure can be also put on…

Call on BiH authorities to save national public service media

The Bosnia and Herzegovina public service broadcaster (BHRT), the EFJ affiliate, the Bosnia -Herzegovina Journalists Association (BHN), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) call on Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to undertake urgent measures to save national public service media (PSM) in BiH. The above mentioned organisations urge BiH authorities to ensure political consensus about the importance of existing independent and professional national PSM in BiH, to find sustainable solutions for the funding of PSM, to undertake immediate amendments of the existing legislation and support the national public…

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…

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…

A true democracy cannot function without a public broadcaster

Comisiones Obreras (FSC-CCOO), one of the EFJ affiliates in Spain, just launched a campaign in defense of public broadcasting. “Public broadcasting is under attack in Europe. Political and economic decision makers are questioning its credibility and even its existence. People should not forget the function of public broadcasting: to ensure public opinion is based on truthful, plural and independent information.” Here is the video of the FSC-CCOO campaign (subtitled in English):

IFJ/EFJ welcome plans by the Syriza government to reopen ERT in Greece

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have welcomed the announcement by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to reopening Greek public broadcaster ERT, which was closed down by the previous government in June 2013. On Monday 9 February Nikos Pappas, the State Minister responsible for public service broadcasting, said that the government will prepare a draft law in a month’s time in order to allow the re-opening of ERT. The PSB went off air in June 2013 and 2700 staff were laid off as part of austerity measures adopted by the government of former Prime…

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