2020 Annual Report: Attacks on media in Europe must not become a new normal

Launch of the 2020 Annual Report by the partner organisations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists Attacks on press freedom in Europe are at serious risk of becoming a new normal, 14 international press freedom groups and journalists’ organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), warn today as they launch the 2020 annual report of the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalists. The fresh assault on media freedom amid the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already gloomy outlook. The report analyses alerts submitted to the Platform…

COVID-19: Council of Europe calls on members states to protect free flow of information

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the Council of Europe’s call on member governments to protect free flow of information in times of crisis. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, wrote to the EFJ and other members of the Council of Europe Platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists in response to our call for determined actions to protect free flow of information to tackle COVID-19. In her letter, Ms Pejčinović Burić states that “extraordinary measures may introduce restrictions to a number of rights, including freedom of expression, but these must remain lawful, proportional to the threat…

COVID-19: Council of Europe must ensure press freedom is protected

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 72 journalists’ organisations across 45 countries, today called on Europe’s top human rights and democracy organization to protect free flow of information and ensure that media freedom is guaranteed as states strive to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. EFJ joined with nine other press freedom and journalists groups to write to the heads of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe to express its profound concerns over the dangers of governments taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to punish independent and critical media and introduce…

Turkey must end public ad ban on independent newspapers

Today, the International Press Institute (IPI), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Reporters without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), called for an immediate end to the ban on public advertising on the two independent newspapers Evrensel and BirGün. Both newspapers are part of a shrinking club of media that have stubbornly resisted pressure to curb their independent journalism and readiness to criticize the authorities. Since September they have been subjected to indefinite bans imposed by BIK (Basin Ilan Kurumu), the agency responsible for the distribution of the state advertising budget.…

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…