European Federation of Journalists

ARTICLE19 briefing: How to tackle misinformation about COVID-19

Professional journalism, ethical journalism, independent media, transparency from those in power, media literacy and the free flow of information are the best antidote to misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of COVID-19 across the globe. In that particular context, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the policy brief recently issued by ARTICLE19. “More than ever we need professional journalists in the field. Citizens are counting on them to report on the real impact of the pandemic, to disseminate protective measures and to hold decision-makers accountable. The EFJ asks media owners to refrain from any initiative to reduce wages,…

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: Release imprisoned journalists and human rights defenders at risk of coronavirus

Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, the Turkish government is accelerating the preparation of a draft law that will reportedly release up to 100,000 prisoners. This is a welcome step. Overcrowding and unsanitary facilities already pose a serious health threat to Turkey’s prison population of nearly 300,000 prisoners and about tens of thousands of prison staff. That will only be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. However, we remain concerned that journalists, human rights defenders and others imprisoned for simply exercising their rights, and others who should be released, will remain behind bars in the package of…

COVID-19: restrictions on access to information in Romania

The president of Romania Klaus Werner Iohannis signed on 16 March an emergency decree which, among other measures, allows the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) to order take-down notices for websites and news reports containing “fake news”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) believes that governments are right to tackle misinformation . However, these measures could lead to self-censorship. Public authorities may be tempted to abuse the powers to suppress coverage that deviates from the official line and tries to hold them accountable. The Romanian emergency decree includes an article on countering the spread of pandemic…

COVID-19: Europe’s leaders must protect free flow of information

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the major network of journalists’ organisations in Europe, today called on European leaders to protect free flow of information and ensure that media freedom will be guaranteed as states strive to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The EFJ joined together with eight other press freedom bodies and journalists’ organisations to express its profound concerns about the dangers of governments taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to punish independent and critical media and to introduce restrictions on the access of media to government decision making and action. While recognizing that certain emergency measures are needed to…

COVID-19: EFJ and IFJ urge Turkish government not to discriminate against political prisoners

Sixteen human rigths and professional organisations urged Turkish Government not to discriminate against political prisoners in its forthcoming early parole bill. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Foundation of Day of the Endangered Lawyers, Freemuse Association, International Association of People’s Lawyers, International Observatory of Human Rights, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Italian Federation for Human Rights, Lawyers for Lawyers, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Liga voor de Rechten van de Mens, Platform for Peace and Justice, Social Justice Advocacy Campaign, Open Dialogue Foundation, Media and Law Studies Association made a…

COVID-19: journalists threatened with imprisonment in Hungary

UPDATE (30/03/2020): The Hungarian Parliament on Monday voted to allow the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree without a set time limit. Under new law, people who spread what are viewed as untrue or distorted facts now face several years in jail. —————————— The Hungarian government demanded today an indefinite extension of the state of emergency. The bill would give prime minister Viktor Orbán sweeping powers to rule by decree, and the power to impose prison sentences of up to five years for promoting false information. The government has portrayed its request as a necessary response to…