Belarus: Journalist sentenced to prison and freelance journalist detained

Belarusian journalist Aliaksandr Ivulin was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday, 19 January 2022, for his protest coverage. On the same day, freelance journalist Seviaryn Kviatkouski was detained upon his arrival in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), in condemning the ongoing crackdown on critical journalists in the country. In a criminal case against the well-known sports journalist and Krumkachy football player Aliaksandr Ivulin, the Savetski District Court of Minsk ruled a two-year prison sentence and found the journalist guilty of “organising and preparing actions that grossly disrupt…

Greece: Concern over criminal charges against investigative reporters

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined international media freedom and freedom of expression organisations in registering concern over the serious criminal charges levelled against two investigative journalists in Greece linked to their reporting on a major corruption scandal. Our organisations are following these two legal cases with utmost scrutiny given the obvious concerns they raise with regard to press freedom. Authorities must issue guarantees that the process is demonstrably independent and free of any political interference. On January 19, Kostas Vaxevanis, a veteran investigative journalist and publisher of the newspaper Documento, testified at the Special High Court on…

Montenegro: Impunity must end for shooting of journalist Olivera Lakić

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and affiliate in Montenegro (TUMM) today to renew our call for an end to impunity for the shooting of investigative journalist Olivera Lakić in 2018 and hope the recent arrest of suspects will lead to all those involved ultimately facing justice. Our organisations also welcome the recent cross party approval of amendments to the criminal code which will strengthen protections for journalists but stress the need for further reforms to create a safe and open environment for independent journalism. Lakić, an investigative journalist covering organised…

Digital Services Act: EFJ supports amendment binding platforms to  fundamental rights

On 20 January 2022, the European Parliament in Strasbourg’s plenary session will vote on the Digital Services Act (DSA), a bill designed to shape the digital future and clean up the Internet. In the future, illegal content shall be easier to delete, personalized advertising easier to change, manipulative ads shall be banned and access to important data improved. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the proposed DSA as a crucial and long overdue tool to create a safer, fairer and more accountable online environment. The EFJ advocates for a stronger DSA  in order to guarantee a digital media ecosystem…

BBC Turkey goes on strike for decent pay

After roughly five months of negotiations, BBC journalists in Turkey are on strike today. The walkout comes after the British broadcaster refused to propose a reasonable offer to the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) over a pay rise that keeps up with the country’s inflation rate, better access to health care, and other key issues. Their walkout is backed by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland, UNI Global Union and UK media union BECTU. With the inflation rate as high as nearly 36 per cent according to the BBC,…

Malta: government must do better to guarantee media freedom

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) co-signed with nine other organisations an appeal to the Maltese government to strengthen media freedom and the rule of law in Malta, following the appointment of a Committee of Experts to make recommendations to the authorities. The EFJ welcomes the inclusion of its Maltese affiliate, the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM), in the Committee. The EFJ and the nine co-signatory organisations will closely follow the work of the Committee and the implementation of its recommendations. Our organisations note Prime Minister Abela’s announcement that a Committee of Experts has been appointed to implement the recommendations of the…

​Policy paper: How the EU can protect public watchdogs from abusive lawsuits

The Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), which reunites journalists, press freedom, and other rights groups – including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) – has been advocating for an EU anti-SLAPP directive for two years. As part of the public consultation launched by the European Commission, the CASE coalition has submitted the following policy paper to inform the upcoming EU initiative. Accessible here, the paper explains what SLAPPs are, provides preliminary and previously unpublished data from CASE research on SLAPPs mapping in Europe and sets out recommendations on what governments and the EU should do tackle the problem. Here…

Finland: Supreme Court overturns conviction of journalist Johanna Vehkoo

The Finnish Supreme Court decided on 11 January 2022 to acquit freelance journalist Johanna Vehkoo of defamation charges brought by former Oulu politician Junes Lokka. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Finland Suomen Journalistiliitto in welcoming a reassuring decision for the freedom of expression. In April 2019, Johanna Vehkoo was found guilty by the Oulu District Court of defaming former local city counselor Junes Lokka after she called him a “racist” and a “nazi clown” in a private Facebook post she published in 2016. She was ordered to pay Lokka 200 euros as damage for the…

Netherlands: International media freedom mission on the safety of Dutch journalists

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is organising an international media freedom mission to the Netherlands. The mission will take at the beginning of 2022 and will be led by Free Press Unlimited and the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and joined by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and other consortium members. The aim of the mission is to map the decreasing security of journalists in the Netherlands, despite the establishment of PersVeilig (Press Safe) at the end of 2019 and the strong security mechanism for journalists. With attacks on journalists increasing, the public broadcaster NOS…