EU Rule of Law Report: Member States should improve journalists’ working conditions

The European Commission published its second EU-wide report on the Rule of Law, with a Communication assessing the situation in the EU as well as in dedicated country chapters on each Member State. The report examines new developments since the first report last September and takes into account the impact of the pandemic. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes that the report tackles the deteriorating situation of journalists’ safety as well as obstacles such as lack of transparency or political interference and calls on the Member States to improve the conditions and legislation for media workers. The methodology behind…

Albania: Concern after government ally elected to head key media regulator

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners today in expressing deep concern about the future impartiality and independence of Albania’s Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) following the election of a close associate of the ruling Socialist Party to head the media regulator. On 7 July, the government and its allies voted without the presence of opposition lawmakers in parliament to appoint Armela Krasniqi as the chairwoman of the AMA, the country’s influential TV and radio regulator. Our organisations have serious concerns over the impartiality of the new chairwoman, who is a close associate of…

Georgia: Journalist dies after being severely beaten during Pride march

Georgian journalist Alexander Lashakarava was found dead at his home on 11 July 2021, a week after he was badly beaten during the Pride march in Tbilissi. The exact cause of the death is still unknown. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Georgia, the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ), in expressing its deepest condolences to Alexander’s family and called on Georgian authorities to conduct a transparent investigation. A cameraman for independent TV station Pirveli, Alexander Lashakarava, 37, was one of the journalists assaulted by a violent mob of anti LGBTQI+ protesters while reporting from the Pride…

Germany: Exiled Turkish journalist attacked in the yard of his home in Berlin

On 7 July, exiled Turkish journalist Erk Acarer was attacked with “fists and knives” in the courtyard of his apartment building in Berlin. Acarer has lived in German exile since 2017 because of his critical reporting of the Turkish government. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its German affiliates, the German Journalists Association (DJV) and the German Journalists Union (dju in ver.di), as well as its Turkish affiliates in strongly condemning this aggression. The attack took place on Wednesday night in the Berlin district of Neukölln, where three assailants beat him with their fists and knives in his yard. The journalists reported…

Belarus : International solidarity with Belarusian journalists as the crackdown against critical voices continues

UPDATE (08/07/2021) The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) expressed again international solidarity with Belarusian journalists and their affiliate the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) as the crackdown against critical voices continues. On 30 June, detained journalist Andrej Aliaksandraŭ was charged with high treason. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison. Aliaksandraŭ, who has been in custody since January, was previously charged with “organising and preparing actions grossly disturbing public order”. Those charges were based on allegations that he helped pay the fines of journalists and protesters who were detained in last year’s anti-Lukashenko demonstrations.…

Georgia: violent attacks against journalists during Pride march in Tbilisi

More than 50 journalists were physically attacked and injured yesterday on 5 July by far-right protesters as they reported on Pride events in Tbilisi. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) join their affiliate in Georgia, the Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ), in condemning the violent attacks against the press and the LGBTQI+ community, and call on the authorities to ensure those responsible are quickly identified and prosecuted. Anti-LGBTQI+ protesters disrupted the “March for Dignity” during the 2021 Tbilisi Pride and attacked activists and media representatives. Journalists covering the event were harassed, beaten and their equipment was stolen and damaged. Among the journalists injured…

Belarus: We call for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined Index on Censorship and 12 other human rights, freedom of expression, media freedom, and journalists’ organisations in unreservedly condemning the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of human rights defender and journalist Andrei Aliaksandrau, who is now facing up to 15 years in prison on baseless charges of “treason to the state”. Aliaksandrau has long been a defender of freedom of expression in Belarus and beyond, having previously held positions at the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Index on Censorship, and Article 19 among other media and free speech organisations. Aliaksandrau was detained in January…

Russia: authorities target investigative journalists with raids amid increasing pressure on media

Tuesday morning, Russian authorities raided the apartments of several investigative journalists and their family members in Moscow. Amid a growing pressure exerted by Russian authorities on independent news media and journalists in recent months, the European Federation of Journalists together with the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU) in Russia strongly condemn the raid and the unlawful actions of Russian authorities. The police raided the journalists of the investigative online outlet Proekt: editor-in-chief Roman Badanin, correspondent Maria Zholobova, and the home of the parents of deputy-in-chief Mikhail Rubin. Rubin was detained near Zholobova’s residential building and brought to his parents’…

Slovenian government eroding media freedom as it takes over EU Presidency

The Slovenian government of Prime Minister Janez Janša is overseeing an increasingly systematic effort to undermine critical media, a coalition of press freedom organisations and journalism groups warn today in a new report. The report concludes that Slovenia, which assumes the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, has seen press freedom deteriorate ever since Janša returned to power in March 2020. Since then, the ruling SDS party has embarked on a multipronged campaign to reshape the media landscape in favour of a pro-government narrative, renewing tactics successful during previous administrations and forging ahead with new forms of pressure.…

Takeaways of webinar “Trust in media: Trends, skills and training in journalism”

On 23 and 24 June, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) organised a two-day webinar on trends, skills and training in journalism as part of the Trust and quality in journalism project. Invited speakers addressed what journalistic skills are needed to thrive in the digital world and how media companies and journalists’ organisations can provide support to journalists. Day 1 The first day’s speakers were media professionals from various fields who shared their insights on the latest trends in journalism and skills required. Monique Hofmann, General Secretary of the German journalists’ union, dju in ver.di, opened the webinar by emphasising…