Ukraine: Prosecutors and police deliver public update on investigation into murder of journalist Vadym Komarov

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) has called on the Ukrainian authorities to continue to pursue the killers of Cherkasy journalist Vadym Komarov, two years after his death following a brutal attack. The call came as the head of the Cherkasy Regional Prosecutor’s Office Oleksandr Voronin and deputy head of the Cherkasy police Yevhen Rohachov updated reporters at a press conference about the progress of the investigation. During these 2 years, more than 1,700 interrogations and more than 200 investigative leads have been followed. Data from hundreds of cameras and more than 1000 phone calls have been analysed. The…

Italy: Defamation law must be reformed

A year after the Constitutional Court ruled on the unconstitutionality of prison sentences in cases of defamation through the press, on 22 June 2021 the Court issued a follow-up decision declaring art. 3 of Law 47/1948 (Press Law) not compliant with the Constitution. The Court has however declared art. 595(3) of the Penal Code, which provides for a sentence between one and six years of prison or the payment of a fine, compliant with the Constitution, but applicable only in cases of “exceptional severity”. In June 2020, the Constitutional Court invited the Italian Parliament to remove specific provisions declared unconstitutional and promote a wider reform…

Turkey: Open letter urges the European Council to strengthen its commitment to human rights in the EU-Turkey relations

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins ARTICLE 19, IPI, CPJ and 12 other human rights organisations calling on the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission to ensure that the positive agenda proposed by the EU prioritises concrete and measurable improvements in Turkey’s domestic human rights record ahead of the European Council Summit Meeting. His Excellency Mr. Charles Michel President of the European Council Her Excellency Ms. Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission 23.06.2021 Your Excellencies, In advance of the forthcoming European Council Summit Meeting of 24 – 25 June, we, the undersigned press…

An Italian court orders RAI journalists to reveal their sources

The Lazio regional administrative court issued a ruling on 18 June 2021 ordering the investigative programme Report, of Italian public television RAI, to reveal the sources of the journalists who produced the report “Vassalli, valvassori e valvassini”, which was broadcast on 26 October 2020, on RAI3 channel. The investigation concerns the management of public funds in the Lombardy region and the Milanese lawyer Andrea Mascetti, a close associate of the Lega party. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins Italian journalists’ organisations FNSI and Usigrai in denouncing this blatant violation of the confidentiality of journalistic sources. The court’s ruling grants…

Croatia: local newspaper dismisses journalists for criticising its bias

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in Croatia, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) in condemning the daily paper Glas Istre for dismissing three journalists who openly criticised the paper’s biased editorial policy. Both CJA and TUCJ described the management’s decision to dismiss the journalists as “scandalous” and “shameful”. The three reporters who were given extraordinary dismissals, Zoran Angeleski, Danijela Basic-Palkovic and Borka Petrovic, accused in late May the daily paper’s editor-in-chief, Robert Frank, of trying to influence coverage of the local election campaign to benefit the long-dominant regional party,…

EFJ-EU Webinar: Tips and challenges for journalists covering Muslims and Islam

On 18 June, the last session of webinars aiming to improve media reporting on Muslims and Islam, funded by the European Commission (DG Justice), took place. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) invited the journalists and media professionals who participated in the online training to discuss their own media productions with experts and community representatives. Below is a summary of the challenges they faced during this process and tips and feedback received. The journalists participating in this four-part online training received constructive feedback and recommendations to improve their journalistic coverage of Muslims and Islam by Jean-Paul Marthoz, journalist and essayist…

Belarus: harassers of journalists’ association will be held accountable

The Belarusian Ministry of Justice ordered on 21 June an inspection of the activities of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). The letter that BAJ received this Monday morning demands that the independent representative organisation of journalists submit thousands of documents dated since 1 January 2018 to the Department of Non-Profit Organisations of the Ministry of Justice. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will denounce at the highest level any attempt to intimidate and harass BAJ. The EFJ asked its Belarusian affiliate to share the identity of all those involved in this examination of BAJ activities by the Belarusian Ministry…

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Protection Act removed protection for journalists

On 10 June 2021, the German Bundestag approved amendments to the Federal Constitutional Protection Act, removing legal provisions that exempted journalists from surveillance and hacking during terrorism investigations. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its German affiliates, Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV) and Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union (dju) in ver.di in criticising the Act as an infringement of journalists’ fundamental rights and a threat to the anonymity of whistleblowers. Under the law, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the federal police will be given more powers to secretly monitor online activity and encrypted communications, such…

The report “A New Deal for Journalism” neglects the working conditions of journalists

The Forum on Information and Democracy published yesterday its report titled “A New Deal for Journalism”. The report presents, among other, a plan to guarantee up to 0.1% of GDP per year to journalism “in order to preserve its social function for the future”. The document however neglects the central issue of journalists’ working conditions and the worrying precariousness of the profession. Written for the Forum by Sameer Padania, who heads the consultancy firm Macroscope, the report recalls a series of long-standing demands, such as transparency of media ownership and increased public support for the media to ensure pluralism. However,…