Russia: communications regulator demands censorship on information about Moscow demonstrations

On 11 August, the Russian national communications regulator Roskomnadzor published a statement demanding Google to prevent its video-sharing service Youtube from distributing information on the recent protests in Moscow. The agency said, it wants to prevent “advertising for unauthorized demonstrations”. Otherwise, countermeasures could be taken. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns this attempt of censorship and demands Russian authorities to respect the citizen’s right for information. “According to available information, several entities possessing YouTube channels have bought advertising instruments [such as push notifications] with the aim of distributing information about unsanctioned [illegal] mass events, including those aimed at disrupting…

Turkish court imposes access block on news portals

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on Turkish authorities to cancel the outrageous decision of Ankara 3rd Peace Judge to block access to 136 websites and social media accounts. Ankara 3rd Peace Judge Hasan Demirtas decided on 16 July to block access to 136 internet resources, including bianet and Gazete Fersude news portals, on the basis of “national security” (article 8/A of İnternet Law). The ban targets 15 websites and dozens of social media accounts (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest). The court’s unjustified ruling prevents access to at least 200,000 news stories in bianet, which has been broadcasting…

Russia: EFJ and IFJ voice concerns over new law on fake news and respect for State

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IJF) today expressed serious concerns over the new Russian law on “fake” news and the “lack of respect for the state, the authorities, and society”, warning it is likely to have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country. The EFJ and IFJ urge the Russian authorities to review the legislation which came into force on 18 March and to give greater consideration to representation of the Union of Journalists of Russia (RUJ), an EFJ-IFJ affiliate. Under this law, the “flagrant” disrespect for the state, public authorities, official symbols and society…

Russia: record fine against The New Times

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)  has joined its Russian affiliate, RUJ, in condemning the record fine imposed on 26th October by a Moscow court against the Russian independent news website The New Times. Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court imposed fines of 22.250.000 rubles (EUR 300.000) against The New Times and 30.000 rubles (EUR 400) against the website’s editor, Yevgenia Albats, for allegedly failing to comply with financial reporting obligations under Russia’s controversial “foreign agents” law. In an interview with RFE/RL, Yevgenia Albats said she believed the court decision was intended to punish her for an interview she conducted on the…

Council of Europe: blocking online content is serious interference with freedom of expression

Blocking of online content and social media, throttling of internet traffic and shutdowns of entire websites constitute the most serious interference with online expression, preventing information from reaching its intended audience, states the fifth annual report by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The report analyses the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe, based on the findings of the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and bodies. Among the main findings, the focus was drawn to the freedom of expression, especially concerning the troubling tendencies of intimidation and threats against journalists around Europe –…

Turkish government shuts down 15 Kurdish media outlets

The Turkish government issued on Saturday 29 October a decree shutting down 15 Kurdish media outlets: 11 newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines. The latest closures bring the number of media outlets shut down under state of emergency in Turkey to 168. The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on 20 July, following the failed coup attempt on 15 July. This situation allows the government to close any media organization by issuing a cabinet decree. Here is the list of media outlets targeted by the decree issued on Saturday: Newspapers: Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Batman Çağdaş , Cizre Postası…

Demonstration of solidarity with Hungary’s newspaper NÉPSZABADSÁG

We will be gathering for a demonstration of solidarity with Hungary’s main opposition newspaper NÉPSZABADSÁG which was unexpectedly and viciously shut down, fueling concerns over a government crackdown on critical media. Since the paper’s suspension, its journalists are not allowed to publish in any other media. The paper’s archives are also inaccessible. Employees of NÉPSZABADSÁG are practically hostages of the publisher Mediaworks, which is suspected to be sold soon to a government-friendly investor. We need to show solidarity with NÉPSZABADSÁG. We also need to raise our voices for press freedom, a fundamental principle of the EU. No Member State have…

Latvia shuts down Russian Sputnik’s website for propaganda

On 29 March, the Latvian government shut down the local website of Russia’s foreign news channel Sputnik, describing the state media outlet as a “propaganda tool” and questioning the credibility of its reporting on the Ukraine conflict. The EFJ and the IFJ warn that any forced closure of a media outlet is a breach of press freedom. Sputnik describes itself as “a provider of alternative news content and a radio broadcaster” and produces news in multiple languages. Launched in 2014 it operates under Russian government control. On 29 March, the Latvian Internet registry NIC suspended Sputnik’s right to hold the…

Total media ban imposed following deadly explosion in Istanbul

A least 10 people have been killed and dozens injured today (12/01/2015) in the historical center of Istanbul (Turkey) in what appears to be a suicide bomb attack by suspected member of the Islamic State (IS), group has killed 10 people, official reports say. Following the explosion, the Turkey Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) have ordered a broadcast ban interviews related to an explosion. The broadcast ban was followed by a total information ban decided by the 7th Chamber of the Istanbul Court of Peace which forbid the publication of any opinion, interview, images, information – including comments published…

EFJ and IFJ condemn ‘Foreign Agent’ labelling of leading Russian Media Freedom group

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) have today joined their affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), in condemning the decision of the Russian government to add the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF), a Russian media non-governmental organisation, to the Justice Ministry’s list of so-called “foreign agents” last 19 November following an unscheduled inspection. The labelling of GDF follows a 2012 law which requires Russian-based NGOs that receive funding from abroad and engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents”. Under this law, organisations added to the list – around 100 groups, according to the OSCE…

Welcome to Brussels, Mr Erdoğan

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was greeted with honour at the Brussels Royal Palace this Monday morning. After the warm welcome of the Belgian King and Queen and the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Mr Erdoğan was pleased to receive accolades from the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European Council President, Donald Tusk. All of those who welcomed him to Brussels should know that they gratify one of the worst censor of press freedom in Europe. In only two days, the International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) submitted five serious violations of press freedom…

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