Belarus: send a letter to journalists in prison

On this Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners in Belarus, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) in encouraging you to send a letter to the 32 journalists and media workers currently in prison in Belarus. 27 November marks the Global Day of Solidarity with Belarusian Political Prisoners. The number of political prisoners in Belarus is growing with now near 1,450; up from 1,000 in February. The war in Ukraine and solidarity of Belarusians and civil society with Ukraine grant new reasons for the Lukashenka’s regime to target ordinary civilians and journalists.…

EU Court of Justice decision to “invalidate” transparency in beneficial ownership is a blow to the right to know

In a landmark decision on 22 November 2022, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the EU anti-money laundering directive’s provisions on access to beneficial ownership registers are “invalid”. The court found that the directive (AMLD5, 2018) interferes with the privacy and personal data protection rights of beneficial owners and should therefore not be made available to a wide public. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounced a decision restricting the freedom of information in favour of business interests. The European legislation was adopted in 2015 with the objective to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by…

Italy: Prime Minister sues Domani newspaper for defamation

Italian defamation laws are once again being misused by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to silence and threaten independent journalism in Italy. The undersigned organisations call for the lawsuit against the newspaper Domani to be dropped and for the Italian Parliament to adopt a comprehensive reform of defamation laws in Italy.  In October 2021, the current Prime Minister, at the time member of the Italian Parliament and leader of the far-right party Fratelli d’Italia,  initiated legal action for aggravated criminal defamation against Emiliano Fittipaldi and Stefano Feltri, respectively correspondent and editor of the daily national newspaper Domani. The lawsuit originated from an article that raised…

Journalists and union representatives in the Balkans undertook safety training with a gender focus

Twenty-six trade union representatives and journalists from the Balkans region received a 1.5-day training on safety in Zagreb, Croatia, on 22 and 23 November 2022. The practical guidance focused on how to be safer at work and the responsibilities of employers, with a particular focus on the different threats facing journalists. The training was organised prior to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November to draw attention to the increasing violence facing female journalists. Neus Vidal from the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) gave a regional overview of the situation. She…

The statue outside the headquarters of Slovenian public broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO) in the capital Ljubljana

Slovenia: Media freedom groups back legislative efforts to depoliticise public media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with other international media freedom and journalists’ organisations, today outlined their tentative support for reform of the law on Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO) and the urgent need to depoliticise the public service media and their oversight bodies amidst continued threats to their independence. The undersigned organisations welcome the initiative of the new coalition government to reduce the influence of politics on the broadcaster’s operations and foster an enabling climate for its public service mission. Events of the last few years at RTV SLO have provided a clear illustration of why such changes are…

“E-evidence” open letter: What’s left of fundamental rights safeguards?

Blog Post by EDRi (European Digital Rights Association) Shortly before the end of their mandate, the French Presidency of the Council nearly reached a political compromise with the European Parliament on the so-called “e-evidence” proposal. This draft compromise lays down general guidelines to establish a future legal framework enabling national law enforcement to request personal data from private companies located in other Member States of the European Union (EU). However, a few points remain to be agreed upon before the final text can be adopted by the co-legislators. Unfortunately, the direction of the negotiations does not favour the protection of…

Albania: media pluralism and transparency concerns fuel deterioration in media freedom

In Albania, capture of media by vested business and political interests suffocates journalism. Following a two-day fact-finding mission to Tirana on 17-18 November 2022, the partners of the Council of Europe’s Platform on Safety of Journalists today publish their findings on press freedom, media pluralism and the safety of journalists in Albania. During the visit the organisations met with the journalists association, editors and journalists, government officials, members of parliament, the prime minister, judicial authorities, police, the privacy and information agency, the media regulator, the press council, NGOs and the public broadcaster. Our assessment is that overall Albania continues to…

Qatar: IFJ publishes safety advice for World Cup coverage

A Danish TV2 team was prevented from filming in a public space in Doha, Qatar’s capital, on 15 November. Security officials tried to cover the camera and interrupted the live broadcast, in what constitutes one of the first infringements on media freedom against international journalists accredited to report on the World Cup. On the occasion of the start of the football World Cup, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) published a 7-point safety advisory to support journalists’ and media workers’ reporting on the ground.   1. Restrictions on topics and places: While Qatari authorities claim reports on strict conditions placed on media…

Bulgaria: ‘Foreign agent’ bill threatens media freedom

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the undersigned international media freedom and journalists organisations in raising the alarm over a draft law submitted to Bulgarian parliament by the far-right Vazrazhdane (Revival) party which would introduce a Russian-style “foreign agent” law involving potential sanctions for media outlets that receive funding from abroad. The draft legislation has been developed by the pro-Russian Vazrazhdane party, which became the fourth largest faction in parliament in the recent elections and is currently in negotiations to form a coalition government. While the passing of the law in the current political climate remains doubtful, it nonetheless…