Serbia: Tendering process of national FTA TV licences must be open and transparent

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in expressing concerns about the lack of a transparent process for the allocation of national free to air (FTA) TV licences in Serbia and of a Development Strategy for radio and audiovisual media services. On 15th April 2022, Serbia’s Regulatory Electronic Media (REM) opened a tendering call for four national TV licences, which were reduced from the five frequencies previously available. We believe that the current allocation process lacks transparency. Broadcast frequencies are a limited resource that should be…

Open letter: Protecting digital rights and freedoms in future legislation to tackle child abuse

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined EDRi and 46 civil society organisations in jointly raising voices to the European Commission to demand that the forthcoming EU on ‘Legislation to effectively tackle child sexual abuse’ complies with EU fundamental rights and freedoms. Tackling the online dissemination of child sexual abuse and exploitation material (CSAM) is an important part of the broader global fight to protect young people from sexual abuse and exploitation. In particular, this fight requires a comprehensive approach by governments and companies to prevent such egregious crimes before they happen. In the context of the upcoming EU legislation to…

Hungary: Fidesz Media Council moves to silence independent station Tilos Rádió

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in expressing serious concern over the decision by the Fidesz-controlled Media Council – the country’s powerful media regulator – to block the frequency license renewal of the symbolic independent station Tilos Rádió. Our organisations are concerned that this decision appears to be yet another disproportionate move by the Media Council, whose members were all nominated and appointed solely by the ruling party, which will force another independent voice off the country’s airwaves and further weaken media pluralism. We note the Media Council’s…

MFRR Mission report: who is afraid of journalists in Italy?

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined its partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in publishing a mission report focusing on key challenges facing press freedom in Italy. The report followed a three-day fact-finding mission to Rome, Naples and Arzano from 4 to 6 April 2022, which was led by the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa. The delegation’s findings were published today and launched at an event organised by the MFRR featuring a representative of the European Commission, as well as our Italian affiliate, the Italian Federation of Journalists (FNSI), Articolo 21 and the Italian Order of Journalists.…

Local cross-border journalism grant: applications open!

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is inviting all journalists interested in doing cross-border investigative journalism at the local level to apply for the new Local Cross-Border Journalism grant. This grant programme supports local cross-border investigative teams of professional journalists and/or news outlets to bring the locals to the European level as well as to local citizens all over Europe. Compelling stories can be found everywhere, even at the local level. Unlike other parts of the world, local journalists in some European countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands do not engage in in-depth research or investigative journalism. There are many reasons why the lack…

Europe Day: Open Letter to European Commissioners for a strong Media Freedom Act

On the occasion of Europe Day 2022, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined 16 journalists, human rights and press freedom organisations in reiterating the vital role of a free, independent and pluralistic media in safeguarding Europe’s values. The upcoming European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) is a unique opportunity to tackle the threat of media capture, ensure media financial sustainability in Europe and build a robust and resilient media ecosystem across member states. With this letter, the undersigned organisations urged the European Commission to take an ambitious approach to the EMFA to help counter the increasing threats to media freedom,…

Estonia: Criminal fines for journalists over public interest reporting send dangerous signal

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in expressing concerns about the imposition of fines on two journalists and a news outlet in Estonia after they published information about pre-trial criminal proceedings without seeking permission or informing the prosecutor’s office. On 25 March 2022, journalists Tarmo Vahter and Sulev Vedler published an article in the weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress which named former management at Swedbank Estonia who had come under suspicion of money laundering activities between 2014 and 2016. On 14 April, following a complaint by the prosecutor’s office, the Harju County Court…

Digital Services Act: EU agreement reached

On 23 April, European Union co-legislators (European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of Ministers – national governments) reached a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA), a new set of rules for online platforms, search engines, online marketplaces and other significant providers of digital services. The DSA will fully enter into force in the first quarter of 2024, and for very large online platforms already four months after the publication of the final text in the EU official journal. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed this agreement as an indeed overdue set of regulation to nail down…

WPFD: a message from our affiliates in Ukraine

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the President of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Sergiy Tomilenko, asked the EFJ to share the following message on behalf of Ukrainian journalists. Journalists are important! It is our responsibility to support colleagues who are dedicated to their profession and who are examples of courage for us! “We are hidden underground and we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. I send information to the national TV station, without ever naming myself. It’s too dangerous.” These are the words of a professional journalist from Kherson, a regional correspondent for…

Barys Haretski: “This award is another opportunity to remind the world of the situation of journalists in Belarus”

To mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has been awarded the Difference Day Honorary Title for its vital work in Belarus in times of repression. BAJ was established in 1995 as a non-governmental association of media workers with the aim of promoting freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus. It brings together more than 1300 journalists and media workers. As part of the crackdown following Lukashenko’s fraudulent election, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of the association in August 2021, forcing it to cease its activities in the country and relocate…