The European Media Freedom Act must protect media from capture by political forces

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is co-signing together with other civil society organisations a policy brief on the upcoming European Media Freedom Act (EMFA), as the European Commission is currently finalising the draft proposal. We thank the European Commission for taking on this task and the ambition it has to deal with fundamental threats to Europe’s media landscape. We take this opportunity, as a coalition of journalists, media freedom groups and human rights groups, to develop our statement of 9th May and to address issues around the European single market, media ownership and transparency of economic relations with the…

Turkey: Police arrest AFP photographer amid mass detentions at Istanbul Pride March

On Sunday, 26 June, Turkish police broke up the Istanbul Pride march, assaulting and detaining over 200 demonstrators and several journalists including an AFP photographer. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) stand with their Turkish affiliates in condemning the crackdown on journalists while doing their job. Despite the ban on the march ordered by the governor and the heavy police presence, protestors gathered in large numbers around Taksim Square. The last authorised march in 2014 drew thousands of participants and the event has taken place every year since 2015, even though it was banned each year. Police detained about…

Reuters Digital Report 2022: worldwide falling interest in the news

The Reuters Institute, in cooperation with Oxford University, recently published the Digital News Report 2022, which documents the latest trends in the global news industry. After two years of pandemic and the global crisis that began in February with the Russian Federation’s decision to invade Ukraine, consumers around the world seem to be suffering from a news fatigue. Overall, the growing lack of trust in traditional institutions and biases towards news producers and services are significantly changing a market where new models are dynamically evolving. Falling interest in news Compared to the last data collected in 2015, it is clear…

Belgium: journalists acquitted for stalking and breach of privacy in SLAPP-case

Update (30 June 2022): On 30 June 2022, we were informed by the author of this blog that the plaintiff/civil party has lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court (Court of Cassation) against the Antwerp CA judgment of 9 June 2022. —————– This article was previously published by the “Leuven Blog for Public Law”. It is reproduced with the permission of the author, Dirk Voorhoof, who is emeritus professor at the Human Rights Centre UGent, founding member of the Legal Human Academy and member of the expert committee of the Council of Europe on SLAPPs (MSI-SLP). When Belgian news site Apache‘s chief editor Karl…

Spain: Fine against photographer underscores urgent need for reform of Gag Law

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) coalition today expressed serious concern over the recent €1,000 fine issued to Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Javier Bauluz under Spain’s controversial ‘Gag Law’. The fine represents another example of the need for the Spanish government to urgently reform the most problematic elements of the law in line with international human rights standards to protect freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. In November 2020, the photographer had been documenting the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants to Gran Canaria. As he attempted to…

UK: Home Office minister approves extradition of Assange to the US

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has accepted the US government’s request to extradite Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange in what the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) condemned as a shameful decision that sets “a terrible precedent for all those who are daily fighting to tell the truth”. On 17 June, despite theIFJ and media calling on the government to reject the extradition request, the Home Secretary gave the green light, ignoring pleas to protect media freedom. Assange is currently fighting extradition to the US to face charges, mostly under the Espionage Act, relating to the leaking and publishing of the Afghan and Iraqi war logs. In the US, Julian Assange…

Turkey: 16 Kurdish journalists behind bars pending trial over terrorism charges

A Turkish court imprisoned pending trial 16 Kurdish journalists and media workers for allegedly “spreading terrorist propaganda” on 16 June 2022. The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) and their four Turkish affiliates strongly condemn these massive arrests of journalists on groundless charges and urge for the immediate release of all of them. Last week, Turkish police detained 21 Kurdish journalists and media workers in a massive operation in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakir on terrorism charges. Police raided the homes of several Kurdish journalists working for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency, the all-female Jin News website, a…

Croatian journalist Maja Sever elected EFJ President for a three-year mandate

Croatian journalist and President of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) Maja Sever was elected President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14 June 2022 during the EFJ General Meeting taking place in Izmir, Turkey. Maja Sever succeeds Mogens Blicher Bjerregård from Denmark after three terms of three years each. Mustafa Kuleli (TGS, Turkey) was elected Vice-President. Maja Sever, 50, started her professional career as a war reporter for Croatian public broadcaster HRT in ex-Yugoslavia. She then became a political reporter for different HRT news programs. She is now a senior journalist with more than 20 years of…

Open letter calling on the EU Commission to withdraw the Child Abuse Regulation

Today, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined 72 other civil society organisations and professional bodies in writing to the European Commission with a strong demand: withdraw the legislation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse (CSA) regulation, and replace it with an approach that upholds fundamental rights. We caution EU politicians and governments that when you fundamentally undermine how the internet works, you make it less safe for everyone. The proposal focuses specifically on detecting, reporting and removing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online and does not tackle broader dimensions of the grave issue of child…