EFJ calls on German authorities to get to the bottom of allegations of corruption at public broadcaster RBB

German public broadcaster RBB has been rocked by a scandal surrounding its former director, Patricia Schlesinger, who is accused of embezzlement and misuse of her position as head of the Berlin-based media group. On Sunday, Schlesinger stepped down after accusations that included a questionable use of funds, including controversial allocation of consultancy contracts. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) called on the German judicial authorities to carry out a proper investigation into the suspicions of corruption. The allegations go back a number of weeks to when the German news portal Business Insider wrote about “inconsistencies” in the business dealings of…

The EFJ condemns the arrest of Russian journalist Marina Ovsiannikova

Russian journalist Marina Ovsiannikova was officially charged with “spreading false information” about the army on Wednesday 10 August. She was arrested today and will spend the night in pre-trial detention in Moscow. She faces “up to ten years in prison” under a new article of the Russian Criminal Code, introduced after the start of the war in Ukraine. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemned the judicial harassment of the journalist and demanded her immediate release. Marina Ovsiannikova is famous for interrupting a Russian state TV news programme and has already received two administrative fines for her anti-war stance in…

Belarus: repression continues on the 2nd anniversary of the fraudulent elections

In Belarus, since the fraudulent presidential election of 9 August 2020, journalists have faced hundreds of arrests and detentions. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its Belarusian affiliate, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), in condemning the indiscriminate repression by the regime of dictator Alexander Lukashenko. The EFJ and BAJ demand the immediate release of the 30 journalists and media workers currently imprisoned in Belarus. 9 August 2022 is the second anniversary of the most recent presidential election in the Republic of Belarus. Two years ago, instead of recognizing the democratic choice, the authorities overturned it through the use…

Malta: The Shift News faces a freedom of information battle with the government

We, the undersigned free expression, press freedom, and journalists’ organisations, express support for The Shift News as it faces an all-out legal battle against 40 freedom of information (FOI) lawsuits brought by 40 government entities in Malta. These appeal lawsuits pose a serious threat to the country’s already worrying freedom of information and press freedom climate. We call for these cases to be immediately dropped and for the government of Malta to fully comply with its FOI obligations going forward. In July 2021, Malta’s Data Protection Commissioner ruled in favour of 40 FOI requests filed by independent media outlet The…

Greece: EFJ demands full disclosure on illegal surveillance of journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns the legal actions aimed at muzzling and intimidating the press in the context of the scandal of illegal government practices in Greece, in particular the tapping of journalists and politicians. The EFJ condemns the abusive legal proceedings launched on Friday 5 August by Grigoris Dimitriadis, resigning adviser and nephew of Greek Prime Minister Kyriákos Mitsotákis, against journalists Thanasis Koukakis, Nikolas Leontopoulos and Thodoris Chondrogiannos, as well as against the website Reporters United and the newspaper EfSyn. “We demand the immediate withdrawal of these complaints, which are only intended to intimidate the press and…

Belgium: Everything is going up, except freelance rates

Freelance rates in Belgium have been stagnating for three years, according to a survey conducted in May and June 2022 by the Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP). In a context of rising inflation (8% expected), the gap between employed journalists, who benefit from annual salary indexation, and freelancers is widening. The journalists’ organisation will make the remuneration of freelancers a priority from September. Journalism is one of the few sectors where the clients – the media – set the rates. The different calculation practices (billing per sign, per word, per line, per article, per day) make it difficult, to…

Russia: EFJ and IFJ condemn “stop list” banning European journalists

After a series of British journalists, Russia has banned, on Monday morning, the Danish public television correspondent in Moscow, Matilde Kimer. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) call for the reversal of these decisions. On the morning of 1 August, on arrival at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, Matilde Kimer had passed through passport control but was arrested after collecting her luggage. At an airport office, she was handed a document stating that she was denied entry to the Russian Federation “for security and defence reasons” and should therefore be deported immediately. After a five-hour wait at the airport in Moscow,…

Russia: first step towards the liquidation of the journalists’ union

This morning, August 3, 2022, the Tagansky District Court of Moscow found the Journalists and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU), an EFJ affiliate in Russia, guilty of allegedly “discrediting the Russian armed forces” (Code of administrative offenses of the Russian Federation). JMWU was ordered to pay the maximum fine of 500,000 rubles (8,000 euros). The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounces this illegitimate trial, which only aims to facilitate the dissolution of the union, during a hearing scheduled for September 14. According to the indictment, JMWU was held responsible for the “spreading of ideas related to a negative attitude towards the…

Belarus: EFJ and BAJ call for the overturn of journalist Iryna Slaunikava’s sentence

On 3 August, the regional court in Homel, Belarus, sentenced journalist Iryna Slaunikava to 5 years in prison in a closed trial. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in calling for the annulment of this arbitrary and illegal court decision. The journalist, who is vice-president of BAJ, was found guilty of organising collective actions seriously undermining public order and creating or leading an extremist group. The latter refers to the Belsat TV channel, which the Belarusian dictatorship considers an extremist organisation. The proceedings lasted almost one and a half months. Judge…