If you want ethical quality information, work with press councils!

What can press councils be used for? A European promotional video co-funded by the European Commission with the support of the Conseil de déontologie journalistique (CDJ – Belgium), is launched today by all European press councils and their partner organisations. It recalls the role and assets of these particular bodies often unknown to the general public pointing one key message : if you want ethical quality information, work with us!   At a time when pieces of information coming from all sources are jostling around without us always knowing whether we can rely on it or not, at a time when distrust of journalists has become the rule, press councils…

Netherlands: Union negotiates travel ban exemption for IFJ press card holders

Foreign journalists traveling to the Netherlands will be exempt from a travel ban and be able to leave quarantine to carry out vital newsgathering provided they are carrying an IFJ International Press Card (IPC). The protocol, negotiated between the Dutch Journalist Association, the NVJ, and the country’s authorities exempts foreign journalists in possession of the IPC and a letter issued by the union, are exempted from the travel restrictions currently in place. Journalists are still required to: get a visa when needed follow travel requirements follow corona rules in place, such as self-quarantine for 10 days, except for the time journalists…

Kosovo: journalist Shkumbin Kajtazi’s car attacked for the second time in four months

On Sunday, 18 October, Kosovo journalist Shkumbin Kajtazi announced via a Facebook post that he had found his car damaged by several bullets that broke the window and left holes on the front and back seats. It is believed that this attack is related to his journalistic work. Kajtazi is an investigative journalist working for Reporteri.net and Jepi zë and covers political events, politicians and corruption affairs in Kosovo. This is the second time in four months that the journalist was targeted. The previous time, on 13 June, his car was set on fire and the prosecutor informed him that…

Netherlands: Public Broadcaster NOS removes logo from vehicles following increased attacks against journalists

On 15 October, the Dutch Public Broadcaster NOS announced they are removing NOS logos from their cars and trucks due to the number of attacks against their employees and elevated fear of further harassment. The logic behind this step is that journalists’ safety increases when it is not immediately recognisable who they are working for. The measure, which was taken after thorough consideration, is described as a “defeat for the NOS, but especially for journalism” by Marcel Gelauff, editor-in-chief of NOS. “However, almost daily aggressions towards journalists, such as calling names, threats, cutting off on the highway or banging on…

Sweden: two journalists prosecuted for investigating the sinking of ‘MS Estonia’

Two Swedish journalists investigating the sinking of the MS Estonia are being prosecuted for “violating a burial site”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Denmark in condemning the decision of the Swedish authorities. Journalist Henrik Evertsson and camera operator Linus Andersson have produced a new documentary series entitled “Estonia: The Discovery that Changes Everything”, which investigates the sinking of the cruise ferry the “MS Estonia” en route from Tallinn to Stockholm in September 1994. It is known as one of Europe’s greatest maritime disasters, killing 852 people. Survivors had long been…

Three years after her assassination, still no justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

On 16 October 2017, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in Malta. Three years later we, the undersigned 19 international free expression, anti-corruption, civic participation, and journalists’ organisations, once again demand an end to impunity for this heinous attack. As alleged murder mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, is facing criminal proceedings and the three defendants charged with carrying out the contract killing Alfred Degiorgio, George Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, are awaiting trial, we recall that justice delayed is justice denied. We call for thorough and effective criminal investigations and prosecutions that ensure the whole truth is uncovered and all those responsible for…

Compromised independence of Turkey’s institutions chokes press freedom

Turkey’s press freedom crisis is worsening amid growing state capture of media, the lack of independence of regulatory institutions, and a new social media law designed to clamp down on the remaining spaces for free comment, a coalition of 11 international press freedom, journalism and human rights groups, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), warned following a four-day mission to the country last week. They also flagged the continued jailing and prosecution of journalists as well as ongoing concerns over the safety of journalists and judicial independence. The coalition held hybrid online/offline meetings last week in Istanbul and Ankara…

Stars4Media EU programme awarded five innovative journalistic pieces

The EU training and exchange programme Stars4Media has delivered its promises despite the COVID-19 outbreak. During one year, the pilot project involved 105 media professionals from 42 media outlets in 17 European countries. At the occasion of the Media4Europe conference, which took place on 14 October, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) awarded the most outstanding Initiatives, among the 21 completed. “You are all winners, stressed EFJ director and jury member Renate Schroeder as the programme already selected 21 Initiatives in Spring 2020. Together with the jury members, we decided to…

Council of Europe publishes alarming new study on safety of journalists

Undue pressures and harassment against journalists – often leading the limitation or even the suppression of the dissemination of public interest information and self-censorship – are still occurring among journalists in Europe, says a new book titled “A mission to inform: journalists at risk speak out” published today by the Council of Europe. This book is a unique exploration of the intimidation of journalists across Europe and it provides an invaluable resource to everyone concerned with the protection of journalists, including government authorities and media practitioners. Co-authored by Prof Marilyn Clark and William Horsley, the book complements the 2017 Study…