Ukraine: Call for action on 20th anniversary of murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze

On September 17, 2000, Georgiy Gongadze, well-known Ukrainian journalist and founder of popular Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda, was murdered. His decapitated body was found on November 2, 2000, about 100 km from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Georgiy’s murder is considered by many to be the most important crime against a journalist in the history of independent Ukraine because the state’s highest leaders were involved in it. Concretely, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The perpetrator, Oleksiy Pukach, a former general and high-ranking official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, is currently serving a jail sentence for…

George Foulkes: “A free media is as important to democracy as regular elections”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes Council of Europe Rapporteur on media freedom George Foulkes‘ call for better protection for journalists in Europe. Over the past two years, George Foulkes, who is a British Labour Co-operative politician and former Scotland minister, has been investigating this issue as General Rapporteur on media freedom and the safety of journalists for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace). His report points out that the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism shows that the situation is getting worse in Europe. From 2015 to date, 26 journalists have been…

The arbitrary detention of Julian Assange set a dangerous precedent for journalists

Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, is currently detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom. He faces extradition to the United States and criminal prosecution under the US Espionage Act. He has been charged for publishing the Afghanistan and Iraq war diaries and US embassy cables, important documents that many journalists around the world used and helped to publicise. The “War Diaries” provided evidence that the US Government misled the public about activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and committed war crimes. “We believe that the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange set an extremely dangerous precedent for…

EFJ mourns two killed journalists in Europe in 2019

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has recorded 49 killings of journalists and media professionals in 2019, including two in Europe, a significant drop from 95 posted last year. The IFJ says that, while the apparent decreasing bloodbath in the journalists’ community is a welcome relief, the spread of killings and the motives behind the killings are sobering reminders that violence against journalists is still rampant and the failure to combat impunity for these attacks remain a damning indictment on those in power. The IFJ lists 18 countries from the four corners of the world where journalist were killed since…

EFJ and partner organisations call on governments to end impunity

Ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, a UN-recognized day observed annually on 2 November, twelve partner organisations of the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists call on governments to ensure that crimes against journalists are not carried out with impunity. Earlier this week, the case of courageous Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was moved to the Council of Europe’s category of journalists killed with impunity. The three men charged with her murder have yet to be brought to trial, while those who masterminded her assassination…

Report: Urgent action needed to protect press freedom in Europe

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. That is the alarming conclusion of a report launched today by the 12 partner organizations of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of Journalism and safety of journalists. The report, “Democracy at Risk”, analyses media freedom violations raised to the Platform in 2018. It provides a stark picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe, in which journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public. The 12 Platform partners…

Montenegro: EFJ demands the immediate acquittal of Jovo Martinovic

On January 15, a court in Montenegro sentenced the independent journalist Jovo Martinovic to 18 months in jail. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the undersigned partner organisations condemn the conviction of independent journalist Jovo Martinovic. The court sentenced Martinovic to 18 months in jail. His trial continued in the High Court of Podgorica, Montenegro, after he was charged by the Special Prosecution Office for A) the criminal act of creating a criminal organisation and B) the criminal act of unauthorised production, possession and traffic of narcotics. The judge in her verdict stated that he…

Azerbaijan violated the rights of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered on 10 January its judgment in the case of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The independent investigative journalist was the target of a systematic smear campaign comprising threats, intimidation and gross violations of her privacy designed to prevent her from pursuing her journalistic work. The ECHR found violations of Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights by Azerbaijan in respect of these intrusions into her private life. The European Federation of Journalists welcomes the decision of the court. Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning journalist well known for deep investigations into…

Italian journalists assaulted by neo-fascists in Rome

On 7 January 2019, Federico Marconi and Paolo Marchetti, an Italian journalist and a photographer both working for the Italian weekly magazine Espresso, have been attacked by members of two neo-fascist groups, Avanguardia Nazionale and Forza Nuova. The two journalists were near the Verano monumental cemetery in Rome to cover the event organised by Avanguardia Nazionale in memory of the Acca Larentia killings, in 1978. A group of neo-fascists approached Marchetti and took his camera’s memory card. Other militants then surrounded the journalist Federico Marconi and began to hit him with kicks and slaps. The boss of Forza Nuova together…

Lithuania: EFJ urges Parliament to guarantee LRT independence

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on again Lithuanian Parliament to guarantee the full independence of public broadcaster LRT. The Director General of LRT, Monika Garbaciauskaite, issued today a letter expressing strong concern about proposed legal changes in LRT governance. A new draft law on LRT is to be debated by the Lithuanian Parliament on 11 January. “The latest developments that are now taking place may have a direct impact on LRT’s independence and at the same time pose serious threats to freedom of speech and democracy on the whole,” reacted Monika Garbaciauskaite. Following the report, issued on 12…