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German journalists refused accreditation to political conference

The European Federation of Journalists supports its member in Germany, the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband  in requesting  fair accreditation to journalists who wish to attend the European Parliament’s Europe of Nations and Freedom group) conference in Koblenz on 21 January . The meeting,  is to be attended by leaders of Germany’s right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) as well as Marine Le Pen, who heads up France’s National Front. The leader of the Dutch Freedom Party Geert Wilders and the chief of Italy’s Northern League Matteo Salvini are due to speak at the conference. According to information of the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband, several  journalists who…

A Greek newspaper publisher and its director charged with libel

On 10 January, Greek police arrested the publisher and the director of Parapolitika newspaper, Giannis Kourtakis and Panayiotis Tzenos, following a lawsuit filed against them for libel and attempted extortion by Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos. The EFJ and the IFJ condemned today the massive police raid at Parapolitika headquarters in Athens and the detention of both newspaper executives. Publisher Giannis Kourtakis said he went voluntarily to the police headquarters after being informed about the lawsuit, while director Panagiotis Tzenos was arrested by police in his office, in Athens. Panos Kammenos filed a lawsuit against Kourtakis and Tzenos for allegedly…

Russian editor threatened by government official in Chechnya

The Speaker of the Chechen Parliament, Magomed Daudov, tried to intimidate Gregory Shvedov, the editor-in-chief of Caucasian Knot (Kavkazsky Uzel), an independent online news site that covers the Caucasus, focusing on human rights violations. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemned this shameful intimidation. Daudov, aka Lord, posted his threats on the social media website Instagram on 4th January, calling for violence against “Shved”, a clear reference to Grigory Shvedov. The post, titled “How to untie the Caucasian Knot”, is accompanied by a picture of a dog, and calls “for a vet to pull out [Shved’s] wisdom teeth and cut his tongue to size”.…

Serbia: Chilling effect on media freedom by verdict against journalist and editor

The EFJ affiliates in Serbia, Journalist Association  of Serbia,(UNS)  Independent Asossociation of Serbia (NUNS) , Journalists Union of Serbia (SINOS), media society organisations and one foundation published a joined statement to support Belgrade’s leading political weekly NIN in challenging the decision of the High Court in Belgrade which determined that NIN had damaged the reputation of Serbia’s Minister of Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic by publishing a June article which portrayed Stefanovic as “The Phantom of Savamala”, the Court ordered the magazine to pay the equivalent of 2500 euros for harming the Minister’s reputation. Serbia’s journalistic community is shocked that Judge Slobodan…

Montenegro: Investigative journalist Martinovic released while pending trial

Yesterday evening investigative reporter Jovo Martinovic has been released from over a year of detention ahead of his appearance in court on January 19 to answer drugs-smuggling charges while pending trial. He was indicted for aiding and belonging to a drugs-trafficking gang in April 2016 and is due to appear in court on January 19. The EFJ and IFJ in cooperation with its member in Montenegro, the Trade Union Media of Montenegro  (SMCG) had urged in a letter to former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic in September  to consider his journalistic work as a justifiable explanation for his alleged contacts with…

#MediaAgainstHate : When the last thing to do is responding to racist comments online

“When your child dies, everything dies. When your child dies, the world stops turning. The last thing a father would have to do, the really last thing, is respond to racist comments”, wrote VRT journalist Fatma Taspinar. During the latest terror attack in Istanbul (31/12/2016), a Belgian-Turkish citizen Kerim A. (23 years old) was among the 39 victims killed. Shortly after the publication of his name, many racist comments related to the supposed ethnic or religious background of the victim were shared by social media users on Twitter and Facebook. The online spreading of openly racist comments have deeply (for a second time) affected the…

EFJ contributes to European Commission social pillar consultation

On 31st December 2016 the consultation of the European Commission on the European pillar of social rights ended. The EFJ has submitted its response focusing on the need for equal treatment for all workers independent of their employment contract. The consultation of the Commission follows a process of the European Commission that took off following the State of the Union speech of President Juncker in 2015. The public consultation contains a series of questions on the social situation and EU social “acquis”, the future of work and welfare systems and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The most pressing priorities as defined the…

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…

The future of news is linked to journalists’ working conditions

On 1st December, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) invited the EFJ, digital start-ups and media groups to discuss  “Media adaptation strategies and expectations” together with representatives of the Council of Europe government representatives. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of Research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism of Oxford University, presented at the outset the results of a recent study on Challenges and opportunities for news media and journalism in an increasingly digital, mobile and social media environment –   prepared for the Council of Europe on this topic. “The move to an…

Turkey: Organising journalists under the state of emergency

The regional meeting of EFJ-IFJ affiliates from the Balkans and Eastern Europe successfully took place in Istanbul on 29-30 November 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Istanbul office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) who are financially supporting the event with the Swedish Union To Union global trade union programme. The gathering of more than 10 international journalists representatives showing solidarity under the state of emergency with so many journalists in jail (over 120), under prosecution (thousands), without job (over 10.000) was warmly welcomed by the colleagues and local media.   The event has primarily focused on…

The Russian Union of Journalists committed to stop gender-based violence in Russia

On November 28, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), together with the United Nations agencies in Russia and the Centre for gender and media studies of Moscow State University, organised a round table focused on “Russian journalists in UN: Combating gender-based violence”. This event took place in the Moscow Journalist Club and gathered experts, journalists and human rights activists. It followed the International Federation of Journalists action to mark UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on 25 November. Nadezda Azhgikhina, vice-president of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and member of the IFJ Gender council, presented a…

EU Parliament Resolution to tackle anti-EU Propaganda comes under criticism from journalists

Propaganda pressure on the EU from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups is growing, the European Parliament warned in a non-legislative resolution voted on Wednesday. To counteract so-called anti-EU campaigns, MEPs suggested reinforcing the EU’s “strategic communication” task force and investing more in awareness raising, media literacy, online and local media as well as investigative journalism. The resolution calls on EU member states to boost funding for counter-propaganda projects. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is not convinced by this controversial resolution. A total of 691 MEPs participated in the vote: 304 (44%) voted in favor of the resolution dubbed “EU…

German journalists concern over media concentration due to newspapers takeover

Journalists and their unions in Germany expressed concerns over the sale of newspaper Donaukurier to the larger publishing house Passauer Neue Presse (PNP). The Bavarian Journalists’ Association, a member of the German Federation of Journalists (DJV) warned that the deal will result in further media concentration and uncertainty for the journalists  working at both Donaukurier and PNP. In response to this development, the journalists’ unions in Germany including DJV, (dju) in ver.di and BJV will organise a protest on Saturday 24 November in the Passauer Fußgängerzone, Bahnhofstr. 2-4 (in the City Gallery). The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports the action…

EU colloquium called on Commission to protect whistleblowers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) attended on 17-18 November 2016 the second edition of EU colloquium on fundamental rights dedicated this year to media pluralism and democracy. Hosted by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-president said in his opening speech that “being a journalist has become one of the most dangerous professions worldwide. Being a journalist is dangerous because of the physical dangers, it’s dangerous because of all the abuse you get all the time – online and elsewhere – it’s dangerous also because you take huge risks with the sustainability of your finances since it also is…

ETUC says new research shows need for EU whistleblower protection law

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) issued today a press release calling for an EU-wide whistleblower protection. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a member organisation of the ETUC and fully supports the following statement. The EFJ is encouraging individuals and organisations to sign its petition on the issue. The EU can and should do a lot more to protect workers who come forward and blow the whistle on wrongdoing. Legal protection for whistleblowers throughout  the EU is a complicated maze of protections and the various civil liability laws mean that some people may be penalised and held personally liable…

UK Investigatory Powers Bill threatens journalistic sources and whistleblowers

The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), joined their UK affiliate, The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in strongly condemning the Investigatory Powers Bill, which threatens the right to privacy, freedom of expression and investigative journalism, giving the Government sweeping spying powers. The new law gives the UK one of the most extreme spying powers in the developed world whose impact will be felt around the world. Under the “national security” pretext, the bill, which was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November will force internet and phone companies to store their users’ browsing data…

Majority of EU citizens think media lack independence

The results of the 2016 Eurobarometer survey on “Media pluralism and independence” published today (17/11/16) – just in time with the EU Annual Colloqium on Fundamental rights on “Media pluralism and democracy” – show two worrying trends: a majority of EU citizens believe that the media in their countries lack independence ; and 75% of the respondents have experienced hate speech on social media. This survey aims at representing the state of media pluralism and independence across the European Union. The results highlight that, according to the Europeans, there is much work to be done in ensuring the independence of national media – a vital cornerstone of…

EBU Conference urges Parliaments to protect PSM independence

Over 100 delegates from 19 countries in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond came together in Prague last week to discuss the need to protect the independence and sustainability of public service media (PSM) in the face of numerous challenges. The conference was hosted by the Czech Parliament in Prague, and organized by the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Czech Television and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Public service broadcasters, Parliamentarians, regulators, diplomats, academics and experts from a range of organisations including the Council of Europe, Venice Commission, OSCE and the European Federation of…

President Juncker joined trade union debate on future of Europe

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for a discussion on the future of Europe with trade union leaders from all EU countries. The discussion took place yesterday, in Brussels, during an extraordinary Executive Committee meeting of the ETUC. The European Federation of Journalists was represented by its General Secretary, Ricardo Gutiérrez. The ETUC believes a wide debate on the future of Europe is desperately needed due to the growing lack of trust in the EU caused by high unemployment and poverty, Brexit, terrorism, the failure to deal effectively with the refugee emergency, and growing…

Media Pluralism monitor now in 30 countries: worrying results

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was invited to the Final conference on “The Application of the Media Pluralism monitor (MPM2016) in 30 countries in Florence on 4 November. The preliminary, but almost finished results, gave some alarming trends, in particular when it comes to the journalistic profession including access, the role of unions and associations in protecting journalists, working conditions, safety and protection of sources. In Florence, #MPM2016 preliminary results show a range of risks for journalists working in Europe, particularly in S&SE Europe @CmpfEui pic.twitter.com/nVkdwAdrqR — JOURNALISM AT MDX (@JRNatMDX) November 4, 2016 The Media Pluralism Monitor 2016…