EU Rule of Law Report: Member States should improve journalists’ working conditions

The European Commission published its second EU-wide report on the Rule of Law, with a Communication assessing the situation in the EU as well as in dedicated country chapters on each Member State. The report examines new developments since the first report last September and takes into account the impact of the pandemic. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes that the report tackles the deteriorating situation of journalists’ safety as well as obstacles such as lack of transparency or political interference and calls on the Member States to improve the conditions and legislation for media workers. The methodology behind…

Urgent: Belarusian Ministry of Justice wants to liquidate the Belarusian Association of Journalists

In an unprecedented attack on the independent representative organisation of journalists in Belarus, the Belarusain Association of Journalists (BAJ), the Belarusian Ministry of Justice has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court to liquidate BAJ. The issue was reported on Wednesday by BAJ. BAJ is accused of violating the legislation on associations. The Ministry of Justice suspects irregularities in rental contracts related to BAJ’s regional branches. If the ministry’s request is not answered within the three-day deadline, BAJ could be dissolved by a court decision of the Supreme Court. In reality, BAJ is unable to produce the documents required by…

EFJ calls for regulation of trade in surveillance weapons

Following the revelations about the reach and harms of NSO’s Pegasus spyware, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to take action to constrain the global spyware industry. Over the weekend, a global consortium of news organisations joined Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, to reveal how Pegasus turned the phones of journalists, opposition politicians and human rights activists into real-time spying devices. At least 180 journalists across the world have been spied on using Pegasus software, including journalists based…

Belarusian regime paralyses Belarusian Association of Journalists

The Belarusian regime is intensifying its crackdown on journalists and their representative organisation, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). After searching and sealing BAJ’s offices on 14 July, the authorities blocked the organisation’s bank accounts on Tuesday 20 July. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) denounce the regime’s repeated actions to paralyse their affiliate in Belarus. By the decision of the Investigative Committee, BAJ’s bank accounts have been completely blocked: it is no longer possible to make any payment or register any payment, which paralyses the activity of the independent representative organisation of journalists in Belarus. On 14…

Spyware Pegasus helped target investigative journalists in Hungary

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is highly alarmed by the revelations by a consortium led by French NGO Forbidden Stories about the surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers and others through the Pegasus spyware program developed by Israeli company NSO Group. The leak, which revealed the involvement of the Hungarian government among others, raises significant implications for journalists’ security and the protection of their sources as well as raising concerns through the chilling effect such applications have on journalists beyond those immediately affected and ultimately, on everyone’s right to information. We call on the Hungarian government and other…

Cyprus: TV station attacked by crowd protesting Covid measures and vaccination

A large crowd of demonstrators against new Covid-19 measures and mandatory vaccination attacked the Cypriot TV station Sigma TV on 18 July. The mob vandalised the station’s headquarters in Nicosia, throwing crackers, breaking windows and damaging cars outside the building. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate, the Union of Cyprus Journalists, in condemning this brutal attack and calling on the authorities to conduct thorough investigations. On Sunday evening, demonstrations against mandatory vaccination took place outside the Presidential Palace in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. Groups of protestors clashed with police and at around 9:30 PM local time,…

EFJ joined call condemning the Belarusian regime’s raids on journalists and human right activists

The raids and detentions conducted by Belarusian authorities on independent media outlets, human rights organizations and think tanks are a harsh escalation of attacks against human rights activists and independent journalists in Belarus. The undersigned organisations condemn the government of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s relentless crackdown on these groups and demand that Belarusian authorities cease their raids on press and rights organizations and release all those detained. The raids, which started on the 8th and culminated on the 14th of July are yet another escalation in an ongoing repression campaign undertaken by the Belarusian authorities to eliminate civil society in Belarus. The day before…

Netherlands: Veteran journalist dies from injuries after being shot

Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries has died on 15 July at the age of 64, days after being shot five times in the street in Amsterdam in a targeted shooting. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) condemned the murder as another tragic blow to press freedom in Europe. On 6 July, Peter R. de Vries was a guest on daily television programme RTL Boulevard. After leaving the building, he was shot several times at close range, including in the head, in a side street near the studio. The police arrested three suspects. One was later released. Peter R.…

Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries dies after shooting

Update (15/07/2021) Peter R. de Vries passed away on 15 July 2021, RTL announced on Twitter.  Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries is fighting for his life in hospital after being shot five times in Lange Leidsedwars street in Amsterdam yesterday evening at around 7.30. The police has arrested three suspects. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) condemned the murder attempt as another tragic blow to press freedom in Europe. On Tuesday evening, Peter R. de Vries was a guest on daily television programme RTL Boulevard. After leaving the building, he was shot several times at close range,…