EFJ rejects the Platforms’ so-called “Code of Practice” on disinformation

Members of the Sounding Board of the EU Multistakeholder Forum [1] on Disinformation Online – which includes the EFJ – have delivered their final opinion on the new so-called ‘Code of Practice’ drafted by the online platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla and several advertisement organisations). The Sounding Board, comprised of representatives of the media, civil society, journalists, consumer organizations, fact-checkers and academia, thanked the Commission and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel for convening the Forum and for the opportunity to comment on the so-called ‘Code of Practice’ drawn up by the online platforms. As demonstrated in the Sounding Board’s detailed and written…

Austrian Interior Ministry attempts to restrict freedom of press

The intention of the Austrian Interior Ministry to restrict communication to “critical media” has been revealed in an email leaked to the press on Tuesday 25 September. In the four pages email, top ministry spokesman Christoph Pölzl, explicitly demanded regional police to “restrict communication with these media to only the most necessary (legally required) degree”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Austria, GPA-djp and Younion, in condemning this attack on press freedom. The media labeled as “critical” include the dailies Der Standard and Kurier as well as the weekly Falter. According to the Ministry, they have “operated…

The EU General Court denies a group of journalists access to MEPs’ expenses

The General Court of the European Union ruled on 25 September 2018 that MEPs expenses can remain secret. The highest court confirmed the European Parliament’s refusal to give access to documents related to MEPs’ expenses to a group of journalists, claiming that this would undermine MEPs’ personal privacy. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns this decision and renews its call to improve transparency and access to information in the European Union. The request was forwarded to the European Parliament (EP) in 2015 by a group of 29 journalists, who wanted to access information on the MEPs’ spending records. According to Euractiv,…

New brochure examines whistleblowing from the journalists’ perspective

The European Commission published on 23 April 2018 a proposal for a directive on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed this initiative, while warning that the legislative text doesn’t fully meet the criteria to establish a robust protection against retaliation for whistleblowers at the European level. In a brochure published in September, Quentin Van Enis, a legal expert specialised in media, lecturer at the University of Namur and member of the Belgian press council (CDJ), analysed for the EFJ the draft directive from the journalists’ perspective. The author highlighted the…

President of the Croatia Journalists’ Association threatened with dismissal

UPDATE 01.10.2018: The Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) published an open letter  entitled “CJA’s appeal for freedom of journalism” calling for an urgent public response for public broadcaster HRT and the emblematic case of Hrvoje Zovko. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined today their Croatian affiliate, Croatia Journalists’ Association (CJA), to strongly condemn the launching by the Croatian public broadcaster HRT of a procedure to fire journalist Hrvoje Zovko, president of CJA. On 12 September, Hrvoje Zovko decided to resign as deputy editor-in-chief of public TV channel HTV4. Hrvoje Zovko has been a journalist and an editor…

Nordic Freelance conference: solidarity to support freelance journalists under attack in Belarus

The Nordic Freelance Conference 2018 took place this year in Malmö, Sweden. The Frilans Riks, the freelance section within the Swedish Union of Journalist (SJF), organised a two day conference focusing on threats against freelance journalists in particular from right wing extremists, rise in self-censorship, dialogue with the police, media situation in Belarus, as well as the power structure of the big tech companies (“GAFA”). EFJ Director Renate Schroeder outlined the work of EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) with a special focus on its advocacy work in Brussels for improving freelance rights and monitoring increasing threats against (freelance)…

Media censorship in Belarus: “it is time for the EU to react”

Freelance journalists in Belarus face increasing threats, pressure and censorship and this is a concern Europeans should share, said Belarussian journalists Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts at a press conference held in Brussels, on Tuesday 18 September. The event was jointly organised by the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with their affiliate the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ). Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts are two Belarusian freelance journalists, working for Belsat TV, a ten-year-old television channel based in Warsaw, Poland. During the conference, the two female journalists exposed several problems they face in their country that they…

Danish public broadcaster DR to cut 400 jobs

Danish public broadcaster DR will cut between 375 and 400 jobs and close down three TV channels and three radio channels, as a consequence of the package of media reforms agreed by Denmark’s governing right-wing coalition. DR will lose 20% of its funding over the next five years. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the Danish Union of Journalists (DJ), in strongly condemning these unprecedented layoffs in what some are calling an act of “revenge” by the Danish government. A significant driver of the cuts is the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party (DF), which is a supporting partner of the…

EFJ condemns Italian government threat to cut indirect state funding to newspapers

Italian government threatens to cut indirect state funding to the press, accusing newspapers of “polluting the debate”. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) join their affiliate the Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) in strongly condemning these threats and expressing serious concerns over the press situation in Italy. The government’s announcement was made on 12 September and throughout last week by Luigi Di Maio, head of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and key figure in Italy’s government. On his Facebook account, the deputy prime minister threatened the press in a post saying that…