EFJ: Media requires urgent reforms in Macedonia before elections

The EFJ sent the following letter  to Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn: Dear Commissioner Hahn, On behalf of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), representing over 300.000 journalists across Europe, and our affiliates in Macedonia, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (ZNM) and the Trade Union of Macedonian Journalists and Media workers (SSNM), we are writing to you with continued grave concerns over the state of media freedom in Macedonia. As you know, since 2015, Macedonia is in a deep political crisis after the opposition boycotted the Parliament and published the wiretapping scandal. The opposition in the subsequent months published a…

Two arrested journalists released in Turkey after 92 days

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) warmly welcomed today Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruling on February 25 stating that the rights of Cumhuriyet newspaper journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül have been violated and underlining the lack of justification to jail them following the publication of several articles. The ruling refers to the violations of Article 19 (“right to personal liberty and security”), Article 26 (freedom of expression) and Article 28 (press freedom) of Turkey’s Constitution. Dündar and Gül were arrested on 26 November 2015 after the newspaper’s reporting and footage of the content of trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Agency.…

Freedom of the media more important than ever

by Mogens Blicher Bjerregård – EFJ President The truth is the first victim of a conflict, and right now, we have such victims in Europe. Most recently, the amendment in the Polish media law turning publish service media into more state control. As well, the record list counts the Hungarian media law removing the self-regulation system, public service media under attack in Spain and more dramatically, journalists beaten and jailed in bunches in countries like Turkey and Azerbaijan. More state control of the media will allow more hate speech leading to propaganda as seen during the conflict between Russia and…

Digitisation at the workplace

On 23 February, the ETUC organised a workshop on digitisation for its members at national level and the European industry federations including the EFJ. Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary explained the challenges and methods regarding the recognition of employment relationship for digital workers and the different definitions of worker and employee throughout the European Union. She asked whether the ETUC should advocate for a Directive for online platform workers. While online work in the medical sector for example is heavily regulated, most other sectors lack complete regulation. Lynch said when it comes to freelance journalists it may be more useful…

Greek journalists denied access to cover police operation against refugees

The Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH, EFJ affiliate) is reporting another incident of journalist and his TV crew being removed from the camp build for refugees in Idomeni (Greece) that occurred early morning on February 23, 2016. At around 05:30, the Greek police asked the TV crew including journalist Aphroditi Spilioti (member of ESIEMTH), a cameraman and a sound engineer working for the private broadcaster Αlpha Channel to leave the camp “for safety reasons”. The crew did move outside the perimeter of the refugee camp at Idomeni where they could possibly still have a view on…

DIHA journalists regularly targeted by Turkish authorities

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) are strongly concerned about the alerts they receive on a daily basis about DIHA journalists and media workers being permanently attacked, beaten, threatened or jailed by the Turkish authorities because of their news coverage in conflictual Kurdish populated areas in Southeastern Turkey. The most recent violation is related to Mazlum Dolan, DIHA press correspondent in the municipality of Sur (Diyarbakir), where the journalist was locked at the basement of a building under heavy firing. “We are under heavy bombing, we can’t breath and we can’t go out. We are going to suffocate…

Media should reflect on the way they portray women

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was invited to a seminar of the No Hate Speech Movement, linked to the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy of the Council of Europe, that took place from 10 to 12 February at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg. The issue of sexist hate speech is particularly acute for women journalists both off and online. Sexist forms of hate speech are direct manifestations of violence against women and girls, which remains the most pronounced expression of the uneven balance of power between women and men, one of the root causes of discrimination against…

Commissioner Muižnieks calls on Poland to protect the independence of public media

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, issued a statement today, at the end of a four-day visit to Poland. He expressed concerns at the adoption in December 2015 of transitional legislation in the field of public service media, pending the adoption of a wider reform in this area, expected before the summer 2016. “Placing public service media under direct government control by giving the latter the powers to appoint and dismiss the members of the supervisory and management boards of public service television and radio contradicts Council of Europe standards which notably require that public service media…

Turkish journalist Füsun Erdogan visits the EFJ/IFJ offices

Turkish journalist Füsun Erdoğan visited the IFJ/EFJ offices today to share the latest developments of her trial to be set in Ankara, Tukey’s capital on 23 March. On 2 November 2013, Füsun Erdogan was given a life sentence and charged with being a member of an alleged terrorist organisation. Her trial in the appeal court will take place on 23 March. The IFJ and the EFJ will ask the Turkish government to ensure a fair trial and set the journalist free. Founder of the radio station Özgür Radyo (Radio Free), Erdogan has often defended political, religious and ethnic minorities. On…

Croatia: governmental attacks on Media Freedom

The decision to abolish state subsidies for non-profit media in Croatia was announced by Croatian Minister of Culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, on the 27th of January 2016. The International and European Federations of Journalists join their affiliates in Croatia, the Croatia Journalists’ Association (HND) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (Sinoh) in condemning this decision, as well as the minister of Culture dissolution of the Expert Committee for non-profit media before the end of his mandate. “Non-profit media in Croatia arose as an oasis of critical and professional journalism, focusing on topics ignored by most other media outlets, bolstering the freedoms and…

ETUC urges Turkey to free jailed journalists

Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), together with ITUC and DISK trade union leaders, went to Istanbul prison to show solidarity with Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, two journalists and trade unionists who are in jail accused of being spies and enemies of the state for having published articles about weapon trafficking to Syria by the Turkish secret services. European and International trade unions demand the immediate release of the journalists. “We are here to show solidarity with Turkish journalists. The Turkish authorities and President are neglecting fundamental rights and freedoms, such as right of…

EFJ condemns attacks against newspapers in Turkey

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have today condemned the attacks on February 11, 2016 with bombs and guns against pro-governmental Turkish daily newspapers Yeni Safak and Yeni Akit. According to media reports, a group of unidentified 3 or 4 masked persons have carried out an attack with Molotov cocktails and guns at 5:00 am against the headquarters of Yeni Safak daily newspaper in Istanbul. At around 5:30 am, the building of Yeni Akit newspaper in Istanbul have experienced the same type of attack with molotov cocktails thrown at the parking area. No…

Greek journalists protest against government plan to reduce TV licence number

Journalists across Greece stopped broadcasting on 11 February from 18:00 until 01:00 in a protest against government plan to reduce the number of TV licences in Greece to only four national commercials broadcasters. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) and its Greek affiliates (JUADN, PFJU, ESPIT and ESIEMTH) demand the Greek government to withdraw immediately the proposal and guarantee media pluralism and transparency in media ownership. According to the draft law voted on 11 February, the number of TV licences issued to commercial broadcasters will be limited to four. The independent authority (National Broadcasting Council ESR) will be  bypassed and the power to grant…

Greek journalist brutally attacked during public rally

A radio journalist has been brutally attacked (in picture) on 4 February by unknown assailants while covering a massive rally in the capital, Athens. The International and the European Federations of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), have joined their Greek affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), in calling upon the authorities to condemn the attack and open a prompt investigation. Reporter Demitrios Perros, working as a freelance for municipal radio Athens 9,84FM, was severely attacked by unknown assailants on 4 February in the afternoon while covering the protest rally organized by GSEE and ADEDY (public and private sector…

Serbia sacks Minister of Defense for sexists remarks

The Minister of Defense in Serbia, Bratislav Gasic, was finally sacked following months of protests for his offensive remarks made towards a female journalist from B92 Television during a conference on 6 December. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the decision although it was overdue. On 6 February, 195 members of the National Assembly of Serbia voted to replaced Gasic due to sexist remarks towards the journalist of TV B92. Following the incident, the EFJ affiliates (UNS, NUNS and SINOS) together with civil society organisations have been calling for Gasic to be sacked. However, journalists have organised several protests before the government finally made…