Poland: Media pluralism greatly endangered by oil firm’s Polska Press takeover

A long-awaited drive by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party to bring independent media to heel has started with the planned purchase by Orlen, a state-controlled petro chemical giant, of Polska Press, owned by Germany’s Passauer capital group which has dominated regional newspapers and magazines for over a quarter of a century. The deal announced on December 7 still has to be approved by Poland’s competition authority which is beholden to the government and the deal whose value has yet to be announced is expected to be completed early next year. Polska Press owns 20 out of 24 regional newspapers,…

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…

EFJ urges EU to stay away from encryption

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) demands the EU Council of Ministers to immediately retract all plans that may weaken secure encryption in digital communication. Journalists rely on encryption to protect sources. The Council of the European Union proposed a draft resolution last week calling for national authorities across the EU to have access to encrypted messages as part of criminal investigations into terrorism and organized crime.  “We understand that we need technical advanced tools in the fight against organised crime and terrorism. But it cannot be that journalists’ sources and thereby media freedom are the price”, said EFJ President Mogens Blicher…

Urgent call to secure financial support for journalism and media literacy in EU budget

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with 16 press freedom, journalists, media literacy and media development organisations sent a letter to the German presidency of the Council of the European Union in light of the ongoing discussion on the EU budget and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The MMF covers the Creative Europe budget which includes support for independent media and journalism. The coalition likewise wrote to the European Parliament’s Budget Commission and to EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn responsible for Budget and Administration. The MFF regulation is adopted under a special legislative procedure, which requires unanimity to…

EFJ and partners concerned over future of public service media in Slovenia

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) are concerned by the proposed changes to the funding of public service media in Slovenia and the extremely short period of five days envisaged for public discussions. The proposed Law on amendments to the Slovenia Radio and Television Act drastically reduces finances for Slovenian public service and marginalises its role in the future. Changes are also being proposed to the Mass Media Act and the Slovenia Press Agency Act. RTVSLO has already been facing financial challenges with the current licence fee, which…

Statement in support of the mandate of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned by the decision of the representatives of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan to block the renewal of the mandate of Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFOM). We respect the need for a consensus vote of all member states of the OSCE on the mandate renewal as an important commitment of all OSCE participating States to abide by their commitments to freedom of expression and free media. We understand the move by Azerbaijan and Tajikistan is an attempt to weaken the essential watchdog function of the mandate. Our organisations have worked closely…

Malta: Renewed call for justice 1,000 days after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

12 July marks 1,000 days since the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. On this anniversary, we, the undersigned organisations, once again demand justice for all those involved in her murder and the corruption she exposed. In recent weeks, yet more disturbing revelations of state corruption and impunity related to the case continue to emerge, underscoring the weaknesses in Malta’s rule of law, and entrenched impunity for both the murder of Caruana Galizia and the high-level abuses of power she investigated. During a June 2020 hearing to compile evidence against murder suspect, Yorgen Fenech, the Magistrate ordered the…

Covid-19-impact on access to information in CoE countries

The Centre for Law and Democracy has released an executive summary of the report on the Right to Information during Health Emergencies in English, French and Spanish. Below is a summary of (potential) changes to access to information and right to information law in Council of Europe Member States. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has urged governments during the pandemic to ensure full transparency about the pandemic and to guarantee the capacity of journalists to act in the public interest, without any limitation. In view of the changing situation it is now time to lift any restrictions which may…