Common Letter on algorithm transparency and data access on content-hosting platforms

On 16 June, the European Federation of Journalists joined a coalition of civil rights organisations in sending a letter to the European Commission highlighting the need for a regulatory framework including transparency and accountability obligations on content-hosting platforms in the framework of the European Commission’s “Shaping Europe’s Digital Future” and the upcoming public consultation on the Digital Services Act.   Dear Commissioner Breton, Vice President Jourova CC: Commissioner Reynders  We are writing as representatives of organisations that share your goals of an open, democratic and sustainable society. We also share your excitement at the opportunity this  Driven by this shared…

Digital News Report 2020 – We need new business models for journalism

Today, the British based Reuters Institute in cooperation with Oxford University published its 6th annual Digital News Report 2020. The findings, which are based on surveys before and during the COVID-19 pandemic provide some interesting long-term insights into the future of news business, in particular at local level; it analyses changing news consumption, the crucial issue of trust; level of mis- and disinformation, changing business models and the growth of paid content and new attitudes to media coverage including on climate change. The crisis is likely to accelerate long-term structural changes towards more digital, more mobile, more platform-dominated media environment”…

North Macedonia: Union secures Covid-19 aid package for media workers

A special aid package to protect journalists wages and support struggling media is to be introduced in North Macedonia thanks to the efforts of the union representing the country’s media workers. The North Macedonian government accepted wide ranging proposals put forward by the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM) to help journalists and media cope with the harsh conditions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have congratulated their affiliate, the SSNM, in negotiating the plan. Applicable to June, July and August, the plan will provide subsidies…

The EFJ calls for stronger measures to tackle online platforms’ disinformation

The undersigned members of the Sounding Board (“SB”) of the Multistakeholder Forum on disinformation online (representatives from media, civil society, journalists – including the European Federation of Journalists -, and academia) thank the European Commission for highlighting the crucial role of free and independent media, journalists and academia in the fight against online disinformation during the Covid-19 crisis. The undersigned are alarmed by the rise in online disinformation during the pandemic and call for much stronger measures to apply to the Platforms that are co-signatories of the Code of Practice (CoP). The Sounding Board notably calls for more ambitious proposals…

Press Cartoonists in Europe must be protected

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins MFRR partners call for press cartoonists to be protected to ensure they can realise their right to free expression across Europe. Across the European Union and Candidate Countries, cartoonists have been targeted for their work by state and non-state actors from within and outside Europe. This includes online harassment and threats, attempted censorship and legal prosecution. The MFRR partners, joined by Cartooning for Peace (CfP) and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), condemn these attacks against press cartoons, which have grown in number as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and reiterate their…

#Disinformation: EFJ calls on EU for rapid support for journalism

“Journalists are in the frontline in the fight against disinformation,” said yesterday Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency in the European Commission. “We are calling on Member States to ensure that they can work safely, in the right conditions, and to make the most of the EU recovery package to support media while respecting their independence.” Yesterday’s Commission communication on fight against COVID-19 disinformation includes a chapter on ensuring freedom of expression with strong messages on the importance of journalists, free and independent media, access to information, transparency and accountability. “The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the crucial role of…

Major step forward in push to scrap prison sentences for criminal defamation in Italy

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins MFRR partners in welcoming the decision by the Italian Constitutional Court to refer a decision on whether to abolish prison sentences for criminal defamation in relation to journalists and media workers to the Italian Parliament. On 9 June 2020, the Court held a long-awaited public hearing into the constitutional legitimacy of Article 595 of the penal code and Article 13 of the law on the press, ruling that while reform was necessary, it was the responsibility of Parliament to amend the legislation. The Court ruled that while a “complex balancing operation” was required…

Freelance Journalism Assembly launched to offer free online training and more

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the “Freelance Journalism Assembly”, a free of charge programme to train and connect freelance journalists in Europe. The ambitious programme is organised by the European Journalism Centre (EJC) with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The original conference was planned in Berlin, which is why several German organisations have partnered including both EFJ affiliates the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV) and the Deutsche Journalistinnen- and the Journalisten-Union (DJU). The programme consists of four tracks, each one covering one topic essential to freelance journalists: personal branding, personal finances, well-being, and pitching and negotiation. Each track includes activities…

Policy paper: Ending gag lawsuits in Europe to protect democracy and fundamental rights

Download the policy paper The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined 118 other organisations to demand an EU set of anti-SLAPP measures. The problem: gag lawsuits against public interest defenders The EU must end gag lawsuits used to silence individuals and organisations that hold those in positions of power to account. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) are lawsuits brought forward by powerful actors (e.g. companies, public officials in their private capacity, high profile persons) to harass and silence those speaking out in the public interest. Typical victims are those with a watchdog role, for instance: journalists, activists, informal associations,…