Safety of journalists: EFJ welcomes European Commission’s Recommendation and calls for monitoring of Member States

Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova presented a Recommendation ‘on ensuring the safety of journalists’ on 16 September 2021. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed this timely recommendation as well as the Commission’s commitment to the safety of journalists. However, as this legislation is non-binding, the EFJ stressed the need to swiftly put in place a mechanism to thoroughly monitor significant action of Member States towards this end. During the press conference, Vera Jourova paid tribute to all the journalists attacked, and in particular to those who paid “the highest price”. She highlighted the impact of the COVID-19…

MFRR partners welcome European Commission’s Recommendation on protection, safety and empowerment of journalists

The partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) welcome the European Commission’s Recommendation on ensuring the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists and media professionals in the European Union, presented today. The document is a testament to the Commission’s much-needed engagement in the defence of press freedom and media pluralism as critical elements of the Union’s foundational values in the face of increased attacks and threats to journalists and media workers across the region in recent years. At the same time, it serves as an indictment of the lack of meaningful action by a number of member states…

Bosnia and Herzegovina: BH General Secretary targeted by hate campaign

In Sarajevo, Borka Rudic, the General Secretary of the BH Journalists’ Association (BHN) and professor in journalism Lejla Turcilo, are targeted by nationalistically motivated hateful comments on social networks. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Bosnia in condemning the smear campaign and urging the authorities to investigate the case. This campaign is the continuation of coordinated attacks, hateful comments and defamatory statements, which started a year ago on social media against professor Turcilo, led by several media outlets and journalist Alena Lena Demirović. Lejla Turcilo is the head of the Department of Journalism and Communication at…

MFRR: EU action needed to tackle spyware abuses after Pegasus revelations

As the European Parliament today debates the Pegasus spyware scandal, the undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) call for an immediate investigation into the alleged use of the spyware against journalists by Hungarian authorities and urge the strong implementation of new EU rules on the export of cyber-surveillance technology around the world. Revelations by the Pegasus Project that at least 180 journalists in 20 countries had their phones infected by the NSO Group’s spyware underscored the need for urgent action by the international community to tackle the unregulated spread of such technology and to create safeguards for…

Ursula von der Leyen calls on EU member states to protect journalists

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen gave the annual address on the State of the Union in front of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on 15 September. In her speech, she stressed the need to better protect journalists, media outlets’ independence and the public right to information. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed a strong statement in favour of media freedom and demanded concrete binding initiatives for EU member states to make these words a reality. President Ursula von der Leyen gave a long speech outlining her vision for the future of Europe and…

Turkey’s Journalists’ Union warns of strike at AFP as talks for collective agreement stall

Originally published on journo.com Turkey’s Journalists’ Union (TGS) has hanged a decision to strike at the Istanbul office of Agence France-Presse (AFP), a global news agency. The three-month talks for a collective labor agreement between TGS and AFP ended with no deal this week, the union said in a statement on Sept. 10, declaring that “the employer’s representatives turned a deaf ear to the demands of AFP employees and came to the table with almost ridiculous offers.” The main disagreement between negotiating parties was the rate of wage raise. The employer’s representatives offered an 11% raise —a figure that the unionized…

Luxembourg Journalists’ Association met with Minister Bettel to discuss improved access to information

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and Media Minister Xavier Bettel met with the Association of Professional Journalists in Luxembourg (ALJP) on 9 September 2021 to discuss access to information for journalists.  Bettel met with Roger Infalt (ALJP President), Luc Caregari (Secretary General), Ingo Zwank and Misch Pautsch (members of the Board of Directors) as well as the Ministry’s Media and Communications Department, Paul Konsbrück (outgoing head of cabinet) and his successor Jeff Feller. After the meeting, Infalt said he was optimistic, as Bettel showed great awareness of the issue. Bettel’s comments during the meeting suggested that he was aware of the issue…

France: Journalist Thomas Dietrich interrogated for two hours by police

Police summoned Le Média journalist Thomas Dietrich to Puteaux police station (Paris), where he was interrogated for two hours over a recent journalistic investigation. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) joined their affiliate in France, the SNJ-CGT, in denouncing the attempted intimidation and have called on the authorities to dismiss the groundless complaint against him. The summons followed a complaint filed by the former head of the Chadian political police, Mahamat Ismaël Chaïbo, for “threats to commit a crime or an offence” after the journalist went to his home in Paris to ask him questions. The journalist denied…

Urgent solution needed as Slovenian Press Agency funding crisis passes 250 days

More than 250 days have now passed since the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) last received state funding for carrying out its public service mission from the government of Janez Janša, which currently presides over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Since the beginning of the year, the STA has been forced to operate without public funds guaranteed to it under two separate laws while a contractual dispute manufactured by the Government Communication Office (UKOM) is played out with the aim of forcing the agency to submit to greater government control. As the Slovenian government took over the…