Serbia: MFRR welcomes renewed convictions for murder of Slavko Ćuruvija

Guilty verdicts in retrial: an important step in long fight for justice The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined the partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR)  in welcoming the confirmed guilty verdicts handed down to four former officials in the Serbian state security services for the murder in 1999 of leading journalist and editor-in-chief Slavko Ćuruvija. The decision by the Higher Court in Belgrade to reaffirm the convictions in the retrial is an important victory for the family and all those involved in the long fight for justice for his assassination and represents another important milestone in the fight…

EU Digital Services Act: journalistic content must be protected from interference by online platforms

Updated (03/12/2021) The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the proposed EU Digital Services Act as a long overdue and crucial tool to create a safer, fairer and more accountable online environment. The journalists’ community believes that the DSA must be stronger in order to guarantee a digital media ecosystem based on trust and audience engagement, in particular in the fight against disinformation. Today the platforms determine who sees when and what – based on their content recommendation systems, algorithms and terms and conditions. Today the power of the big platforms and gatekeepers has contributed to the market failure we…

Serbia: Penal Code amendments require an open and comprehensive debate

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) express concern over the limited time and space available to openly debate various amendments of the Penal Code proposed by the Ministry of Justice of Serbia. While well intentioned, the amendments are problematic from a freedom of expression perspective. Our civil society organisations call for a broader and open consultation that comprehensively integrates the implications of the amendments on the exercise of human rights in Serbia.  We recognise that journalists in Serbia face numerous threats to their physical safety and are often the target of harassment…

Belarus: the government intensifies its crackdown on independent journalists and media

Belarusian authorities arrested and searched the houses of several independent journalists across the country for simply doing their job on 1 December. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) join their Belarussian affiliate, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), in solidarity with the journalists affected and condemn the government’s systematic harassment of independent journalists. The Belarusian police arrested at least four journalists in three different locations across the country on charges of “funding anti-government protests”. The officers also confiscated some of their equipment. According to BAJ, journalists Valeryia Lepeshava and Siarhei Niarouny were detained by the Belarusian police in the eastern…

Turkey: Cumhuriyet management dismissed eight union members

After the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) signed its first collective agreement in 18 years with the newspaper Cumhuriyet in mid-November, the management dismissed eight journalists and union members. TGS understands this to be a discriminatory and retaliatory move against union organisation. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Turkish affiliate in the call for the journalists’ immediate reemployment. In response, on Tuesday 30 November, TGS organised a protest with journalists and press freedom advocates in front of Cumhuriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul at 11 am local time. Although Cumhuriyet put forward economic reasons for the dismissals, TGS General Secretary…

Italy: Solidarity with harassed TV reporter Greta Beccaglia

Journalist of Toscana TV Greta Beccaglia was groped by a football fan while she was reporting live from the Empoli vs Fiorentina game in Empoli on 27 November 2021. The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) joined its Italian affiliate, the FNSI, in strongly condemning this intolerable attack and calling for solidarity with Greta Beccaglia. The female journalist was interviewing fans pouring out of the Empoli stadium after the match when one fan approached her and slapped her on the backside – live on Toscana TV. Beccaglia reacted calmly, saying “Sorry, you can’t do this,” and professionally continued her…

MFRR to hold press freedom mission to Greece

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) will hold an online fact-finding mission to Greece in the first half of December to assess increasing concerns about media freedom and the safety of journalists in the country. The online mission will be led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and implemented together with its partners in the MFRR, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and representatives from other international press freedom groups. The delegation will meet with a range of domestic stakeholders, including journalists and editors, journalists’ unions and associations, civil society and academics, and representatives of…

Switzerland: concerns over Le Courrier and journalism in the Gandur’s case

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) joined its affiliate in Switzerland Syndicom in calling the Court’s decision to disavowed Swiss’s newspaper Le Courrier. The decision, not only heavy with consequences for the editorial staff of the independent Geneva newspaper, shows there is a real threat when it comes to the future of investigative journalism.  Following a first victory at the criminal level and in the first instance at the civil level in Switzerland, Le Courrier was disavowed on 23 November 2021 by the judges in the case that opposing it to the billionaire Jean Claude Gandur that started six…

Poland: Journalist must not be jailed for refusing to disclose source

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined the partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in calling on the District Prosecutor’s Office in the Polish city of Gdansk to drop its legal case against Gazeta Wyborcza reporter Katarzyna Włodkowska and to respect the journalist’s right of source confidentiality protected under the European Convention of Human Rights. If the prosecutor issues a second demand for Włodkowska to reveal the identity of her source for a report on the investigation into the assassination of the city’s mayor, and she refuses to comply, she could face a prison sentence of up…