Italy: Public service RAI becomes a “megaphone” of the government

Public service broadcaster RAI has decided to grant ministers and undersecretaries unrestricted airtime on its programs when referring to institutional matters. On 11 April, journalists and news hosts on the main channels of RAI read live during prime news editions the Rai Union of Journalists (USIGRai) statement announcing RAI’s decision and condemning it, comparing RAI to the government’s “megaphone”. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with their affiliate the Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) condemn this further attempt to politicise public information services for propaganda purposes and demand that RAI respects fundamental journalistic principles. “The government majority…

Italy: Solidarity with striking journalists at Giornale Radio Rai

The journalists of the Giornale Radio Rai are on a 24-hour strike today, 25 March, against the cuts announced by the national public service media Rai company. The broadcaster intends to merge the sports editorial team with Rai Sport and Giornale Rai Parliament with Rai Parliament. The International and the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with its affiliate, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI), stand in solidarity with journalists at Giornale Radio Rai and urge Rai’s management to consider all alternative options to avoid lay-offs and downgrading broadcast output. On 20 March, Rai Radio 1 journalists announced on…

Serbia: Escalating threats and attacks against journalists in Novi Sad

The escalation of threats and violence suffered by journalists in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, has reached an unprecedented level in the past fortnight. The undersigned organisations urge the Serbian authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the persistent attacks on journalists and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted accordingly.  In just ten days, no fewer than seven journalists have faced threats and assaults in the city of Novi Sad alone. Whether it is physical assaults, verbal abuse, online harassment or death threats, the ability of Serbian journalists to do their job is severely compromised and their safety is at…

Appeal: Protect exiled Russian journalists in the Czech Republic

In a letter to Czech and European authorities, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins partners of the Safety of Journalists Platform in urging them to address security threats faced by exiled Russian journalists in the Czech Republic. We are deeply concerned for the safety of Irina Dolinina and Alesya Marakhovskaya of I-Stories, whose safety is threatened by probable Russian state agents.

Op-ed: Standing up for journalism as a public good

By EFJ Director Renate Schroeder, 7 March 2024 (originally published on Social Europe)   It is a truism to say democracy relies on a free press. But in a sea of misinformation that is because it’s a fact. Europe’s information ecosystem is at a crossroads. Misinformation and filter bubbles, oligarchic media capture and attacks on public-service media, indeed unprecedented attacks on journalists amid their subjection to precarious working conditions—all are leading to a brain drain from the industry. This could have a devastating impact on the quality of journalism and media pluralism, already threatened by ‘click-bait’ profit-seeking and local news ‘deserts’ deemed…

MFRR Monitoring Report 2023 – 1,117 media freedom alerts in the past year

The partners from the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR)  publish the latest edition of its Monitoring Report which documents press freedom violations from January to December 2023. The latest Monitoring Report – produced by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the International Press Institute (IPI), and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as part of the MFRR – gathers and analyses all media freedom violations recorded on Mapping Media Freedom throughout the year 2023.   War in Ukraine The 2023 report opens with a thematic chapter on the ongoing war in Ukraine and its repercussions for press…

Call for withdrawal of Slovakia’s repressive broadcast law

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined journalists and media freedom groups in calling for the urgent withdrawal of a proposed legislation allowing political control over public-service media in Slovakia. The bill threatens independent information, especially before the June European Parliament elections, contradicting the recently voted EU’s Media Freedom Act. On 11 March, the Slovak government announced a plan to dissolve Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS) and replace it with the new Slovak Television and Radio (STaR). The Ministry of Culture’s draft law includes drastic changes to the appointment and competence of oversight bodies, which would set up a government control and effectively end…

Poland: Persistent obstruction of Ukrainian journalists’ work 

Since the beginning of 2024, Ukrainian journalists investigating Poland’s economic ties with Russia and Belarus have faced deliberate obstruction of their activities by Polish law enforcement officers. From vehicle searches to confiscation of equipment, leading to arrests and deportations, the work of the Ukrainian journalists from online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda and Rayon.in.ua have been seriously unhindered.  The International and the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) urge the Polish authorities to conduct an independent and thorough investigation into these serious attacks on journalists and to reconsider their deportation from the territory. On 27 February, journalist Mykhailo Tkach, working from news portal Ukrainska…

Portugal: Portuguese Union of Journalists calls for nation-wide strike on 14 March

For the first time in over 40 years, the Portuguese Union of Journalists (SinJor) will be calling a 24-hour strike, joined by other journalists’ unions and associations, on 14 March to demand better working conditions. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) stand in solidarity with the striking journalists and media workers. The strike was decided unanimously at the last congress on 18 January 2024. SinJor is demanding general pay rises, stable employment contracts, decent overtime pay and compensation for the hardships of working nights and weekends, and additional payments for exceptions to working hours. The union is also…

Coalition calls for effective implementation as the Parliament adopts the European Media Freedom Act

The European Parliament today adopted with an overwhelming majority (464 in favour, 92 against, 65 abstentions) the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA). Media freedom and pluralism along with the rule of law have been in decline in the EU (and beyond) for many years. Where the rule of law is undermined, independent journalism is often the first to suffer. Against this background, our coalition of organisations representing journalists, media freedom and civil society groups, and public service media, congratulate the EU institutions and welcome the EMFA as an important step towards protecting and promoting media freedom and pluralism in the EU.…

Georgia: MFRR partners denounce smear campaign against journalist by speaker of the Parliament

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined today the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in expressing concern at the discrediting of a prominent Georgian journalist by Shalva Papuashvili, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. The comments come amid a broader wave of smear campaigns against independent media in Georgia by Papuashvili and others. On 20 February 2024, Georgian media reported that Papuashvili had publicly discredited Gela Mtivlishvili, the editor of online news site Mtis Ambebi, by questioning his credentials as a journalist in the course of an interview. In remarks to journalists, Papuashvili mentioned an investigation by Mtivlishvili into…

News deserts on the rise: public support is crucial for local media to survive

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched on 5 March 2024 the report “Uncovering news deserts in Europe. Risks and opportunities for local and community media in the EU” at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Dace Melbarde. Over 100 participants, including policymakers, local journalists and members of European media organisations, attended the roundtable discussion in Brussels and online. Published by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) as part of the Local Media for Democracy (LM4D) project, the study explores challenges and opportunities for local and community media in the 27 EU Member States, analysing the news…

International Women’s Day: Solidarity with female journalists risking their lives to report the news

On International Women’s Day, the Gender and Diversity Expert Group (GENDEG) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) stands in solidarity with the female journalists and media workers risking their lives to inform the world. In various countries around Europe, conflicts and authoritarian regimes are ongoing and many women journalists are on the ground or in exile reporting in extremely difficult conditions. In Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, female journalists are behind bars, physically assaulted, harassed, or exposed to unsafe situations. In Ukraine, at least five female journalists are held in captivity on the Russia-controlled territories, and since February 2022, seven…

IWD: Safeguarding women journalists in the digital age

On International Women’s Day, MFRR coalition partners publish a critical examination of attacks against women journalists in the European Union and candidate countries To mark International Women’s Day, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) presents an analysis of the troubling attacks against women journalists, in European Union member states and candidate countries. In 2023, female journalists faced a disproportionate number of verbal attacks, especially online. The MFRR partners call for collaborative efforts to protect their rights and foster a society free from discrimination. On International Women’s Day, the partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) emphasise the need to…

Albania: Smear campaign against investigative journalist Ola Xama must stop

The smear campaign against Albanian investigative journalist Ola Xama, who works for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), intensified again earlier this month. The news platforms Prapaskena.com and DITA published articles that unleashed a worrisome level of violence with personal attacks, attacks on her family, “slut-shaming” and divulgation of Ola Xama’ private address. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) stands in solidarity with Ola Xama and joins the Safe Journalists Network (SJN) in calling on the media outlets to stop their damaging attacks which have been going on since July 2023. On 13 July 2023, BIRN document-based investigation revealed that…

EFJ Manifesto for 2024 EU elections: Stand up for journalism as a public good

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today launched its Manifesto ahead of the 2024 EU Elections. With the motto “Stand up for journalism as a public good”, the EFJ and its affiliates aim to raise awareness about the need for a strong European Union, committed to working for trade union and human rights, the rule of law, media freedom and media pluralism. “The EFJ is calling upon future EU policymakers to stand up for journalism and journalists in Europe,” said EFJ President Maja Sever. “In the past years, the EU has done more than ever to create a safer and…

Italy: MFRR partners strongly condemn investigation into Domani journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners in strongly condemning the investigation of three Domani journalists for allegedly receiving confidential documents from a public official and for alleged breaching of secrets through the publication of information contained in those documents. The charges are connected to their reporting on a conflict of interest involving the current Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto. The journalists face up to 5 years in prison under Italian criminal law. Our organisations call for the investigation to be dropped immediately. No journalist investigating matters of public interest, or their sources,…