Croatia: Smear campaign against journalist Anja Kožul, protection needed

As part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) condemn the smear campaign against Croatian journalist Anja Kožul and call for her protection. Kožul works for Novosti, a Croatian and Serbian-language weekly magazine published by the Serb National Council (SNV) in Croatia, which covers issues related to the Serb community in the country.  She has been exposed to numerous threats, insults and attacks coming from Serbia since 1 December. The hate campaign started after she published an article entitled…

EFJ condemns the harassment campaign targeting journalist Arzu Geybulla

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns the online harassment campaign targeting Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla, unjustly accused of betraying her country for taking a measured and journalistic stance in the face of the recent armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla has been the target of an online harassment campaign following the publication of an opinion article about her on the online portal AzLogos, a platform managed by Azerbaijanis living abroad. The article alleges that the journalist disrespected the martyrs of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, accusing her of deliberately mocking the minute of silence…

Journalists and press publishers are concerned by the latest e-evidence proposal

The European Federation of Journalists together with EMMA, the European Magazine Media Association and ENPA, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, acknowledge yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on the Report for a Regulation on European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic information in criminal proceedings (E-Evidence Regulation). Despite the efforts by the European Parliament to address several issues contained in the European Commission’s proposal, we regret that some key amendments have been rejected. As a result, the adopted report falls short of the necessary procedural safeguards to protect press and media freedom. This is…

EFJ welcomes EU Media Action Plan and urges to include support for freelancers

On 3 December, the European Commission adopted the communication Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: An Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation. The Action Plan focuses on three areas of activity in the media and audiovisual sector and 10 concrete actions, to help the media sector recover from the crisis by facilitating and broadening access to financial support, by encouraging investments for the  digital transformation all on the basis that the media and news sector are not only economical but public goods central for Europe’s democracies “We are committed to help the media sector weather the current storm and challenges brought…

Media councils must anticipate news automation, says new report

The Council for Mass Media in Finland published today a new report on self-regulation in the emerging era of news automation. While news automation and personalisation have become more common in recent years, it has received little attention from Press and Media Councils which have not faced major ethical problems so far. However, the report suggests that in the future self-regulatory guidance on news automation is likely to be needed.  The report introduces the present state of affairs in news automation and discusses what ethical considerations it raises. Based on a European-wide research project, the key takeaways are as follows:…

Danish government increased support for the media sector

The Danish government agreed on 6 December with the majority of the parliament to stop financial cuts of 122 million euros in support of public service media over the next four years. In addition, the government proposed to increase support for the media sector by providing an additional annual budget of 20 millions euros. The minister of Culture stressed: media are important for our democracy. “This is a great day for journalism and the media in Denmark. Cuts in public service media would have caused dramatic changes in DR (the Danish Broadcasting Corporation) also resulting in many new unemployed journalists.…

Slovenia: news agency funding cut puts press freedom at risk

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined calls to repeal the decision to cut funding for the Slovenia Press Agency (STA) in a row over its alleged failure to respond to what media freedom campaigners describe as reckless and unlawful information requests. The Slovenian government confirmed on 30 November a decision by its communication office (UKOM) to cut STA monthly funds for October for allegedly failing to answer information requests related to its editorial content. The EFJ joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliates, the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS) and the Slovenian Union of Journalists (SUJ)…

Serious concerns over suspension of funding to Slovenian Press Agency

The undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today raise serious concerns over the recent decision by the Government Communication Office (UKOM) in Slovenia to suspend financing of the country’s press agency. We believe the move to temporarily halt funding from the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) will seriously jeopardise its ability to keep citizens informed during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and is the latest example of a wider effort by the current administration to undermine and stigmatise the country’s public service media. On November 30, UKOM director Uroš Urbanija communicated to…

Armenia: Police impeded journalistic work during protest

Police prevented the work of journalists and attempted to detain the cameraman Hayk Sukiasyan of Yerkir Media TV during a protest in Yerevan, on 1 December. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate, the Union of Journalists of Armenia (UJA), in strongly condemning these incidents and urges the authorities to investigate the case. Gegham Manukyan, director of the TV station’s political and media programs, said that the police had arrested Sukiasyan and put him in the car by force before being released shortly after. During the scuffle, a camera belonging to Yerkir Media was broken. A policeman said…

UK: Journalists with IFJ Press Card to be exempted from Covid quarantine rules

The European Federation of Journalist and the International Federation of Journalists welcome the confirmation from the UK government that foreign journalists traveling to the UK will be exempted from the country’s quarantine restrictions from 4 am on Saturday 5th December if they hold an IFJ International Press Card. The new rules were secured thanks to negotiations involving our affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This is welcome news for all those journalists who cross borders as part of their work, at a time when news and reporting is more important than ever. It’s a…

EFJ welcomes EU Democracy Action Plan but calls for stronger regulation of tech giants

Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission, presented today the European Democracy Action Plan to empower citizens and build more resilient democracies across the EU. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the Action Plan and its concrete provisions to strengthen media freedom and pluralism, but calls for stronger regulation of Tech Giants, while protecting freedom of expression. The Action Plan sets out measures to strengthen media freedom and counter disinformation in the European Union. More concretely, the Commission will recommend measures to promote safety of journalists and present an initiative to protect them from strategic lawsuits against public participation…

Ukraine: Journalist attacked live on air

TV Journalist Violetta Tovkes was attacked by an unknown man in the middle of a live broadcast on 28 November, resulting in severe damage to her equipment. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), condemn these acts and called for an end to any kind of aggression against journalists in the line of duty. Ms. Tovkes, a reporter for the national TV channel NewsOne, was attacked in the middle of a broadcast in Kiyv during a ceremony honoring the Holodomor victims. This killing, which took place between 1932 and 1933 and left from three to 12…

Coalition published a proposal for an EU anti-SLAPP law

A coalition of about 60 non-governmental organisations from across Europe published on 1 December 2020 a proposal for an EU-anti SLAPP directive. This text is the result of several months of work involving civil society organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and national journalists’ trade unions, to urge policy makers to protect public watchdogs such as journalists, rights defenders, activists and whistleblowers from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). SLAPP suits are a form of legal harassment. Pursued by law firms on behalf of powerful individuals and organisations who seek to avoid public scrutiny, their aim is to…

Biographies of experts

WEBINARS Trust in media Audience Engagement & Artificial Intelligence The Online Seminars on 25 and 26 March are moving closer. We have already updated the agenda and preliminary reading suggestions list. Now we would like to introduce you to our confirmed speakers who will join for the two days of discussions. The seminars will take place on two days: On the first day, Thursday 25 March, experts will be dealing with the question of how to regain trust and improve audience engagements. On the second day, Friday  26 March, panelists will discuss the topic of innovations in the newsrooms, covering how media…