Serbia: Tendering process of national FTA TV licences must be open and transparent

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in expressing concerns about the lack of a transparent process for the allocation of national free to air (FTA) TV licences in Serbia and of a Development Strategy for radio and audiovisual media services. On 15th April 2022, Serbia’s Regulatory Electronic Media (REM) opened a tendering call for four national TV licences, which were reduced from the five frequencies previously available. We believe that the current allocation process lacks transparency. Broadcast frequencies are a limited resource that should be…

Media Freedom Rapid Response III (MFRR) will continue for 18 months

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is pleased to announce that the consortium running the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) – consisting of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), ARTICLE 19 Europe, Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI), Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBC Transeuropa), and the EFJ – has been granted €1.95 million in funding for 18 months from the European Commission to continue its work to defend and support press and media freedom throughout all EU member states, candidate countries, and Ukraine. In 2020 and 2021, the consortium – which also included the Institute…

Czech Republic: Independence of public broadcasters must be insulated against future attacks

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in demanding a boost in press freedom to drive legislative reform for public service media in Czech Republic. Press freedom in the Czech Republic has undergone a welcome boost since the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala came to power. The undersigned media freedom and journalists organisations today urge the new administration to use this momentum to push forward with amendments which will strengthen the institutional independence of Česká televize (Czech Television) and Český rozhlas (Czech Radio). Under the previous government, Czech Television came under…

Hungary: Fidesz Media Council moves to silence independent station Tilos Rádió

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in expressing serious concern over the decision by the Fidesz-controlled Media Council – the country’s powerful media regulator – to block the frequency license renewal of the symbolic independent station Tilos Rádió. Our organisations are concerned that this decision appears to be yet another disproportionate move by the Media Council, whose members were all nominated and appointed solely by the ruling party, which will force another independent voice off the country’s airwaves and further weaken media pluralism. We note the Media Council’s…

MFRR Mission report: who is afraid of journalists in Italy?

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined its partner organisations in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in publishing a mission report focusing on key challenges facing press freedom in Italy. The report followed a three-day fact-finding mission to Rome, Naples and Arzano from 4 to 6 April 2022, which was led by the Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa. The delegation’s findings were published today and launched at an event organised by the MFRR featuring a representative of the European Commission, as well as our Italian affiliate, the Italian Federation of Journalists (FNSI), Articolo 21 and the Italian Order of Journalists.…

Estonia: Criminal fines for journalists over public interest reporting send dangerous signal

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in expressing concerns about the imposition of fines on two journalists and a news outlet in Estonia after they published information about pre-trial criminal proceedings without seeking permission or informing the prosecutor’s office. On 25 March 2022, journalists Tarmo Vahter and Sulev Vedler published an article in the weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress which named former management at Swedbank Estonia who had come under suspicion of money laundering activities between 2014 and 2016. On 14 April, following a complaint by the prosecutor’s office, the Harju County Court…

Romania: Independent investigation needed into harassment campaign against journalist Emilia Șercan

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined nine European and international press freedom and freedom of expression organisations, members of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and their partners, have reacted to the harassment of Emilia Șercan, expressing serious concerns about the case and its implications for media freedom in Romania. Today, the ten organisations sent an open letter to the Romanian authorities calling for swift and independent investigations. The letter recalls that the threats and harassment of Șercan are set against a background of recent aggression and undue pressure against journalists and media workers in Romania coming from politicians,…

New MFRR report in the Netherlands: advancing protection and prevention amidst rising threats

Today, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) publishes “Towards a safer haven: Advancing safety of journalists amidst rising threats in the Netherlands”. Following interviews with more than twenty local stakeholders, the MFRR concludes that policy and practice around the safety of journalists in the Netherlands in many ways constitutes a best practice example, thanks to its pioneering PersVeilig mechanism. Nevertheless, there remains a need to strengthen several areas to better protect journalists and media workers against the increasingly hostile climate pursuant to intensified societal polarisation and threats emanating from organised crime. The report details the findings and recommendations of the…

Greece: Remembering Giorgos Karaivaz, one year later, targeted killing remains unresolved

April 9 marks the one-year anniversary of the killing of veteran Greek crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz in Athens. Ahead of the date, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners in honouring Karaivaz’s memory and call on the Greek authorities to urgently bring to justice all those responsible for this abhorrent murder and to provide more transparency about the investigation. On April 9, 2021, Karaivaz, an experienced reporter who worked for the TV channel STAR and ran a news website focusing on crime and policing, was gunned down by two men on a scooter outside…