European Federation of Journalists

Finland takes harsh action against Internet trolls

On 18 October 2018, the Helsinki District Court issued a symbolic verdict against online disinformation and hate speech. The Court’s decision makes Finland the first European country to directly fight Internet trolls, taking action against those who harass journalists through the net. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its Finnish affiliate, the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF), in welcoming the verdict as an example to be followed by other European countries to fight online defamation of journalists. The case sees as protagonist Jessikka Aro, a Finnish journalist investigating how pro-Russia disinformation is spread in Finland through social media and websites believed to be linked…

Malta: public officials must refrain from taking punitive action against journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has published today a joint statement of findings from an international freedom of expression mission to Malta from 15-17 October 2018. The mission found that the Maltese authorities are not living up to their obligations to guarantee and safeguard freedom of expression and press freedom. The joint mission issued a set of recommendations. EFJ Steering Committee member and FNSI (Italian journalists’ union) deputy General Secretary, Anna del Freo travelled to Malta along with representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the International Press Institute…

Italy: Journalist Roberto Saviano sued for defamation by Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini

Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano has been sued by the Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini on 20 June under allegations on defamation. The lawsuit was a result of a Twitter thread about the reconsideration of the journalist’s police escort and Salvini’s migration policy, calling for reaction from the Minister to a recent incident where a refugee woman and a child were found drowned in the Mediterranean sea. Saviano named him “a buffon” and “minister of the underworld”. Matteo Salvini, minister of interior, deputy prime minister and the leader of the right-wing League party, has been receiving critics from local and…

EP hearing: “Media pluralism essential element for democracy”

Citizens’ fundamental rights to freedom of expression and information can only be guaranteed through media freedom and pluralism. Even though that is enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter, the reality is different. “Since our last report in 2013, plurality has just gotten worse,” stressed Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli in her opening remarks at the “Media Pluralism and Freedom in the EU” hearing, which took place in the European Parliament on Tuesday (11/07/2017). Organised by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee, it reflected the media situation in EU, with the experts presenting the most alarming issues. Spinelli…

Albania: Two media outlets and four journalists sued by judge

Two defamation lawsuits have been launched on June 9 by Gjin Gjoni, a member of the High Council of Justice in Albania. They target the daily Shqiptarja.com along with its journalists Adriatic Doci and Elton Qyno, as well as the Balkan Investigative Reporting in Albania (BIRN) and reporters Besar Likmeta and Aleksandra Bogdani. The latter two journalists are both winners of the prestigious CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism. Gjoni and his wife Elona Caushi are seeking a total of 7 million lek (€52,000) in damages, for three stories published by BIRN over the last year, related to an investigation…

Panama Papers: ICIJ Maltese journalist sued for defamation by Prime Minister Muscat

Updated on 16.05.2017. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has filed on the 10th of May 2017 a defamation case against Matthew Caruana Galizia, journalist at the International consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ) and Pulitzer Prize winner, for revealing documents through the Panama Papers accusing Maltese Prime Minister of corruption. Joseph Muscat denied the journalist’s allegations. The European Federation of Journalists called on the minister to reconsider his legal action, highlighting the chilling effect of such an action on media freedom. Caruana Galizia is sued in relation to a series of posts and documents published on his Facebook page proving, among others, that the Prime Minister took kickbacks on the sale of Maltese passports, via his chief of staff Keith…

Kosovo: Leaked draft law reinstates criminalisation of defamation

UPDATE (03.05.2017): The government withdraw the draft law on criminalisation of defamation.  The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backs its affiliate, the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), in opposing the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice aiming to criminalise defamation of the President and Kosovo state symbols. The amendments to Kosovo Criminal Code foresees that anyone who insults or expresses with ill intention contempt for the Republic of Kosovo, for its constitutional order or its anthem, is punishable up to three years of prison. In addition, the defamation of constitutional body, including the President, the Parliament, the…

Serbian journalist sentenced to jail for unauthorised publication

Freelance journalist Stefan Cvetkovic was found guilty by the court in in the city of Vrsac for unauthorised publication and presentation of another’s texts, portraits and recordings on March 14. He received two years and three months in jail and must pay €17,000 fine for insult. According to the legal advisor of Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), Cvetkovic had filed complaints against the judgment and is waiting for the second instance court ruling. He has not been detained till the appeal. Cvetkovic was prosecuted after the complain by three officials from the ruling party. The well-known journalist was investigating…

Workshop: Investigative journalism and defamation law in Greece, 18-20 October

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the International Press Institute (IPI) invite journalists and unionists to a three-day workshop on Investigative journalism and defamation law, to be held in Thessaloniki (Greece) from 18 October to 20 October. On Days 1 and 2, trainers and contributors from Greece and other European countries will work together with participants to describe the working environment for investigative journalists in Greece, and identify challenges and possible opportunities for them to develop their work. They will also present financial tools and funding models for investigative journalism, as well…

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