Northern Ireland unites against threats to journalists

The publishers of three Belfast-based newspapers and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have joined together to stand up for journalists and press freedom in Northern Ireland. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the campaign: Stop the rise in death threats against Northern Ireland journalists. This initiative has attracted local and global endorsement, involving many prominent individuals and organisations, all listed below. The public statement appears in the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter newspapers today. This unprecedented joint initiative aims to highlight and challenge the increasing number of threats of violence inflicted on the media. Add your…

Threats against journalists in Northern Ireland must stop

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), as a partner of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), joined press freedom and freedom of expression organisations, journalists’ organisations, journalists and media workers to condemn threats against journalists in Northern Ireland. We, the undersigned, condemn the threats made by the South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA) against journalists at the Sunday Life and Sunday World in Northern Ireland. Early in the morning of 8 May, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) visited the homes of a number of journalists to warn them about credible threats, including threats of physical violence against their colleagues…

EFJ joined call on the European Commission to end vexatious litigation against journalists in the EU

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) co-signed, together with 25 organisations, a letter to the European Commission requesting to take action at the European level to address the threat of vexatious litigations against journalists, activists and trade unionists – also known as SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). The letter reads: “The incidence of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is notable throughout the European Union. Shocking as the extent of documented suppression of public interest activity may be, we are acutely aware that we are only able to document the tip of the iceberg. Inequality of arms facilitates coercive…

Victory for press freedom in Germany: Global mass surveillance ruled unconstitutional

Today, the German Federal Constitutional Court has declared the monitoring of worldwide Internet traffic by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) to be unconstitutional. The ruling says that the BND is bound by the fundamental rights of the Basic Law when conducting telecommunications surveillance of foreigners in other countries, and it violates the fundamental right to privacy of telecommunications (Art. 10(1) of the Basic Law, Grundgesetz – GG) and the freedom of the press (Art. 5). Back in 2016 the Bundestag  passed a law that allowed the Federal Intelligence Service to spy on foreign journalists. As this destroys the trust between journalists…

EFJ welcomes scholars’ call for more democracy at work

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the call by more than 3,000 scholars on 15 May for more democratisation of work. “Democratize firms; decommodify work; stop treating human beings as resources so that we can focus together on sustaining life on this planet,” concludes the call. “As a sectoral trade union federation, the EFJ supports the European Trade Uunion Confederation’s ongoing fight for the further democratisation of work, so we can only welcome this call for responsibility and mobilisation from the global scientific community,” reacted the EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “We fully agree with these prominent scholars: our…

Norway: Government presents Coronavirus aid package for media

The Norwegian government presented on May 12 a proposal for a media aid package to address the financial situation of the country’s media during the coronavirus crisis. The Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ) welcomed the package but warned that the initial amount of 300 million NOK (27 million euros) will not be enough to save the whole industry and maintain the media plurality in the country. The package is estimated to cover up to 60 per cent of the financial loss suffered by the media industry due to the pandemic. It can be used by national media organisations which have a turnover…

EFJ condemns discrediting of journalists by Slovenian PM

The Slovenian Prime Minister, Janez Janša, published on 11 May, in the government’s official website, a story about his so-called “war with the media”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Slovenian affiliates, the Slovenian Association of Journalists (DNS) and the Union of Slovenian Journalists (SNS), in condemning this despicable attempt to discredit journalists. Janez Janša blames in his text the journalists in general: “The professional group in western civilisation that first declared itself the seventh power, then the fourth (unelected) branch of power and finally the moral judge of political correctness, is increasingly difficult to recognise today as…

Portuguese journalists banned from entering Spain

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliates, the Union of Portuguese Journalists (SinJor) and the Spanish Federation of Journalists’ Associations (FAPE), in calling on the Spanish and Portuguese governments to allow journalists from both countries to cross the border to carry out their work. On 7 May 2020, Spanish border guards at the Ayamonte border post banned a team of three Portuguese journalists from Lusa news agency from entering Spanish territory to report on the work of Portuguese cross-border workers in Spain. The Portuguese journalists showed their official press cards, but were not allowed to cross the border,…

Belarus: four journalists sent to prison just for doing their job

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined its affiliate in Belarus, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in demanding the release of four journalists sent to jail just for doing their job. On 11 and 12 May, courts of Mahilou and Hlybokaye, in Belarus, sentenced four journalists, all of them BAJ members, Ales Asiptsou, Mikhail Arshynski, Alexander Burakou and Zmitser Lupach to 10 days of administrative arrest for alleged “participation in unauthorized protests”. They were in fact just covering these demonstrations for their media. Today, the Leninski District Court announced its decision in the case of Alexander Burakou: 10…