How media can help to build democracy? Three initiatives for social change

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) EU Office organised yesterday (26/04/2017) a meeting about media and its role for democracy in Europe. The international experts presented new initiatives for social change and talked about how media can help to build democracy and how to deal with hate speech, racism and lack of diversity in European newsrooms. “The misconception that news should be free is a great danger to democracy. News and journalists who write the news must be paid,” stressed Birgit Sippel, German member of the European Parliament. “If the media only relies on the advertiser’s funds,…

Germany: A draft law to counter hate speech would threaten freedom of expression

The German affiliates of the European Federation of Journalists, the Deutscher Journalisten-verband (DJV) and Dju in ver.di criticized the adoption of the Network Enforcement Law („Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz”) by the German Federal Cabinet on April 5, 2017, supposed to be adopted by the German Bundestag in the summer. Dju in ver.di issued a statement on April 5: “Even if we strongly reject the use of fake news and hate speech in social networks, in case of doubt, the deletion of such content is not the right response,” said Cornelia Haß, national director of dju in ver.di. “Freedom of expression and diversity of opinions are fundamental to our…

Russia: Sexist of the year 2016

Sexist of the year award ceremony took place in Moscow on March 10. The annual ceremony was initiated six years ago by Russian feminist group “Pro Feminism”. Blogger Natalia Bitten, the founder of the award, said that the aim of the ceremony is to combat hate speech and humiliation of women. Dozens of news-makers, politicians, religious leaders, journalists and academics have been nominated for five different awards this year. The news-portal Gazeta.ru and biologist Alexander Markov won the ‘Sexist in the Media” award for the article “It is beneficial for women to be illiterate”, where the scientist claimed that from…

#SpreadNoHate: how to tackle hate speech against migrants and refugees?

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was invited on 26 January to participate in the high-level debate “#SpreadNoHate: Hate Speech Against Migrants and Refugees in the Media” organised in Brussels by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS). This event was aimed to better understand the mechanisms of hate speech against migrants and refugees as well as exploring new ways to improve the quality of media coverage, by promoting ethical journalism and fostering dialogue between journalists, institutions and organisations. EFJ General secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez moderated the panel on “Strengthening Partnerships between Media and Civil…

An indictment issued for hate crime following threats to CJA president Saša Leković

On 19 January, an indictment has been issued for hate crime against Ivan Goluban, arrested since November 2016, following threats by text message to CJA president Saša Leković. Goluban has been detained following his arrestation as the judge considered that he could potentially repeat the harassment against Leković. He is facing up to 5 years in jail. In October 2016, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounced the increase of hate speech and direct threats towards journalists in Croatia in an article explaining how Saša Leković escaped a serious road accident after his car appeared to have been tempered with.…

Roularta Media Group stops comments on its websites

Roularta Media Group announced on 10 January in a press release the decision to block comments on articles published on its newspapers’ websites, “due to the disrespectful nature of the discussions”. The Belgian group publishes among others Le Vif/L’Express, Trends, Knack and Sport-Foot Magazine. “Our mission is not to moderate resentments, but to inform. In this new era, where fake news spread on social networks takes precedence over verified information, there is an urgent need for the press to get back to basics: informing while at the same time avoiding to ride the buzz wave”, wrote Le Vif editor-in-chief, Vincent…

#Media Against Hate: EFJ launches a Europe-wide campaign to counter hate speech in the media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today launched together with partners ARTICLE 19, Media Diversity Institute (MDI), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo dei Paesi Emergenti (COSPE), Community Media Institute (COMMIT), Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) a Europe-wide campaign Media Against Hate, to counter hate speech and discrimation in the media. The media and journalists play a crucial role in influencing both policy-making and societal opinion on migration and refugees. As hate speech and stereotypes targeting migrants and refugees proliferate across Europe, balanced and fair media reporting is needed more than ever. Despite some good journalism practices…

Social media need “self-regulation, education and literacy, not new restrictions”, says Dunja Mijatović in a report

The Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Dunja Mijatović, published today her regular report to the Permanent Council from March 2016. She expressed great concerns about the safety of journalists and fake news on social media. Here are some excerpts. On the safety of journalists: As you all know, unfortunately safety of journalists continues to dominate my agenda. Impunity for killings, attacks and threats prevails. This must stop. In order to assist the participating States in monitoring progress on fighting impunity for killings of journalists my Office has prepared a…

Majority of EU citizens think media lack independence

The results of the 2016 Eurobarometer survey on “Media pluralism and independence” published today (17/11/16) – just in time with the EU Annual Colloqium on Fundamental rights on “Media pluralism and democracy” – show two worrying trends: a majority of EU citizens believe that the media in their countries lack independence ; and 75% of the respondents have experienced hate speech on social media. This survey aims at representing the state of media pluralism and independence across the European Union. The results highlight that, according to the Europeans, there is much work to be done in ensuring the independence of national media – a vital cornerstone of…