Spanish Public Security Law Is Gagging Press

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns the Public security bill adopted on Thursday by the Spanish Parliament on the proposal from the People’s Party (the right wing conservative in power). The EFJ says the bill is hostile to press freedom and allows government to sanction journalists for taking pictures or filming police forces in the exercise on their duties. Article 26 provides that “unauthorised use of pictures, films or personal/professional data of authorities or members of security forces will be considered as serious offence because they could put their personal or their family’s security in danger.” The sanction provided for is…

Radio France journalists on strike against budget cuts

Journalists and media workers at Radio France have been on strike since Thursday 19 March called by the unions (CGT, CFDT, FO, Solidaires and Unsa) to oppose the budget cuts. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Broadcasting Expert Group in its meeting on 26 March has expressed their support to the journalists in Radio France to defend public service broadcasting and their fight to maintain quality journalism and decent working conditions. “The management of Radio France announced a budget deficit of 20 million Euros. The employees are protesting against the potential cut of 300 jobs and the plan for…

Turkish cartoonists sentenced to jail for insulting Erdogan

Turkish cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan, from the Turkish satirical magazine Penguen, have been found guilty of insulting Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a cartoon on the cover of the magazine’s August issue. The court sentenced both cartoonists to 11 months and 20 days in prison on March 24. That sentence was subsequently commuted to a fine of 7,000 Liras (2,500 euros) each. The cartoon depicted newly elected Erdogan arriving at his presidential palace and saying: “What a bland celebration. We could have at least sacrificed a journalist.” The prosecutor alleged that the cartoon was insulting in that one…

EU Enlargement Commissioner: “further progress needed on press freedom”

In a meeting with delegates of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on Friday 20 March 2015, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr. Johannes Hahn, has called for more progress made on press freedom in the West Balkans and Turkey. Commissioner Hahn expressed his concerns about media freedom in West Balkans and Turkey and pointed out that it was not satisfactory to see these countries receiving the same critical comments every year. He confirmed that the Commission considers media freedom as a fundamental right and as a key element in the transformation of countries into democratic…

Turkey: Making trade unions “trendy” again among journalists

Board members of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), together with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), organised this weekend (21-22 March 2015) in Istanbul the union’s third Strategic & Development workshop in a year. This was an opportunity for the new board (elected at the TGS Congress in December 2013) to evaluate their recruitment and development strategies, identify new areas of potential growth, reassess all ongoing projects with partners and take the necessary steps to move forward. Although Turkey’s Constitution affirms the right of workers to form labour unions “without obtaining permission”, “to possess…

Serbia: “The safety of journalists remains an issue of concern”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes today the release of the report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, at the end of his visit to Serbia from 16 to 20 March. “As regards media freedoms, the Commissioner welcomes the adoption in August 2014 of three important media laws aiming to ensure media pluralism and transparency of ownership. However, the Commissioner regrets that the implementation of these laws and other media-related issues are being discussed in a highly polarised and politicised context.” “While urging the authorities to refrain from any actions and statements which may have a…

IFJ and EFJ condemn repressive actions against journalists in Crimea

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional organisation, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today accused the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in Crimea of harassment and intimidation against independent media after journalist Natalya Kokorina (pictured on the left) was detained last Friday for six hours and denied access to legal assistance while her colleague Anna Andrievska (pictured on the right) is facing anti-state charges in relation to an article she wrote in 2014. The two journalists have worked at the news portal of the Crimean Centre for Investigative Journalism, in charge of providing journalistic training. After the…

Corruption in the media is killing ethical journalism, says EJN

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today (16/03/2015) attended at the Press Club Brussels the presentation of a new report called Untold Stories – How Corruption and Conflicts of Interests Stalk the Newsroom published by the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), a global coalition of 50 journalism and media support groups, including the EFJ. The EJN published report is gathering data and stories from distinguished journalists from 18 countries representative of different regions (Western Balkans, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Turkey, UK and Ukraine) that exposes how media managers are doing “deals” with advertisers to carry paid-for material disguised as news, how…

Belarus: EFJ reiterates appeal to lift ban on freelance journalists

The European Federation of Journalists has sent a letter to the Minister of Information of Belarus demanding to abolish the provision in a media law forbiding freelance journalists from practicing journalism in the country. According to the Mass Media Law in Belarus, freelance journalists are banned from reporting in the country. The law only recognises employed journalists working for major media organisations in Belarus. Foreign journalists who are working in Belarus on assignments can also get press accreditations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus. The EFJ proposed to the government to organise a round table discussion with all…

Greece: Public broadcaster ERT to reopen mid-April

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has learned today that a draft bill for the reopening of public broadcaster ERT was made available for public consultation on Monday (09/03/2015) and is expected to be submitted in a consultation committee of the Greek Parliament in the coming days. The bill calls for the re-enforcement of the work agreements that were valid up until June 11, 2013, the day when the public broadcaster was shut down, meaning that all those who were made redundant then and would still like their job back will be rehired on the time related terms of the…

Greece: Public broadcaster ERT to reopen mid-April

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has learned today that a draft bill for the reopening of public broadcaster ERT was made available for public consultation on Monday (09/03/2015) and is expected to be submitted in a consultation committee of the Greek Parliament in the coming days. The bill calls for the re-enforcement of the work agreements that were valid up until June 11, 2013, the day when the public broadcaster was shut down, meaning that all those who were made redundant then and would still like their job back will be rehired on the time related terms of the…

The EFJ celebrates the courage of women journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) marks 8 March, International Women’s Day, by celebrating the courage of women journalists across Europe. The EFJ supports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) campaign calling for access to leadership in unions and media organisations for women. A recent report from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) concluded that “persistent gender inequalities in the media sector can be challenged by advancing women in decision-making.” “While women have considerably outnumbered men in university level and practice-based journalism programmes and women are employed in media professions in ever-increasing numbers, the organisational culture of media organisations remains largely masculine, and women are still significantly…

Who owns the media?

Who owns the media? Whose interest do they serve? The answers to these questions are difficult reach. To improve media ownership transparency, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has endorsed a campaign launched by Access Info Europe for transparent and easy access to information about media ownership. According to Access Info Europe, a non-governmental organisation promoting access to information, only 9 European countries can the public find out who the actual owners of the broadcast media are from reporting to media regulators or to company registers. This is because disclosure to media regulators of beneficial (ultimate) owners of media outlets…

World Press Freedom Day 2015: Press for More Award opens for application

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with a group of media associations have joined the Brussels Platform for Journalism and iMinds, a Brussels-based digital research institute, to launch the Press for More Award meriting entrepreneurial and innovative ways of doing journalism. The prize will go to an individual or organisation that has created an impact on improving quality of journalism through new ways of reporting, storytelling, investiations, interactions, platforms, projects, tools, services, products, business models, etc. Winner of the award will be given 10.000€ on the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2015 to further develope the initiative…

Freelance journalists need more freedom, campaign and organisation

The Freelance Expert Group (FREG) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) agreed at its latest meeting in Brussels (26/02/2015) to reinforce its campaign to improve the social and professional status of freelance journalists in Europe. The EFJ experts reached an agreement on two major issues: All freelance journalists are journalists and have the right to be member of a trade union or professional association. They have the right to be represented and defended by the organization of their choice. This may seem to be an obvious fact but in several European countries – such as EU member states Greece and…

Belgium: Defending journalists’ rights in a federal system

On Saturday (28/02/2015), the Association des journalistes professionnels (AJP, representing the journalists in the French and German speaking part of Belgium) and the Vlaamse vereniging van journalisten (VVJ, representing the journalists in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium), both EFJ affiliates under the federal umbrella organization called AGJPB-AVBB, held their annual congress at the House of Journalists in Brussels. Unlike many other countries in Europe, AJP and VVJ are not classical trade union organisations but they are registered as non-profit professional unions. They are considered by the authorities and other civil society organisations as the legitimate representative of professional journalists and…