BiH: Authorities must urgently break the deadlock facing public broadcasters and solve the financial problems

BiH: Authorities must urgently break the deadlock facing public broadcasters and solve the financial problems Following the temporary interruption of the TV and radio programs of the RTV Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8 May 2024, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners denounce the irresponsible political management that created the crisis and led to direct violation of citizens’ right to freedom of information. The long-standing financial dispute between the national public broadcaster (BHRT) and the federal public channel of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FTV), two of the three public service media in the country, led to an unprecedented media…

Ukraine: MFRR partners highlight ongoing press freedom issues

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners in highlighting ongoing press freedom concerns in Ukraine, over two years following the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. While Ukraine was at first quick to unite in the face of armed aggression, setting aside internal conflicts and arguments, the climate of trust between officials and independent media seems to have seriously deteriorated, two years on. Repeated surveillance of journalists In comparison to neighbouring Russia and Belarus, Ukraine has long been a haven for independent media, offering local journalists the opportunity to criticise power without fear of…

Croatia: EFJ condemns far-right calls for an end to funding for Novosti weekly

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Croatian affiliates, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) and the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ), in condemning the call by the far-right political party Homeland Movement to cut public funding for media outlet Novosti, which is published by the Serbian National Council, SNV, an organisation representing the Serb minority in Croatia. On 8 May 2024, at a press conference in Šibenik, the leader of the far-right Homeland Movement, Ivan Penava, declared that his party would only support a new government coalition led by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) if it cuts…

MFRR to conduct a mission to Italy amid worsening state of media freedom in the country

The growing pressure on press freedom in Italy has prompted the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) consortium to organise an urgent mission to Rome on May 16 and 17. The unprecedented political interference in the public service media, the increasing cases of vexatious lawsuits against journalists, and the possible sale of the AGI news agency will be the focus of the two-day visit. Meetings will be held with institutional stakeholders, journalists, trade unions and civil society. In light of the recent legislative developments on media freedom at the EU level, in particular the adoption of the anti-SLAPP Directive and the…

France: Full support for journalist Nassira El Moaddem and her media Arrêt sur images

Since 1 May 2024, French journalist Nassira El Moaddem has been the target of an unprecedented campaign of racist harassment. Her media, Arrêt sur images (ASI), specialised in media issues, has also received several death threats referring to the Charlie Hebdo attack. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its French affiliates the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-Journalistes in expressing full solidarity with Nassira El Moaddem and ASI, and in calling for appropriate sanctions to be taken against the perpetrators of the threats. The harassment campaign started with a tweet posted by Nassira El Moaddem on 30 April 2024, in reaction…

Danish journalists faced a surge in false advertising on Meta platforms

Danish newspapers Politiken with TjekDek revealed last month that thousands of false advertisement campaigns published on the Meta platforms were targeting in particular DR and TV2 journalists. Most of the fake articles were not removed by Meta, despite being reported as fraudulent. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) urges Meta to take responsibility for protecting the credibility and professionalism of journalists and remove all the fakes from its platforms.  Deepfake is a growing phenomenon worldwide that involves the unauthorised use of well-known journalists’ images or voices to spread false stories and lure people into sending money.  Among the journalists targeted,…

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Serbia: MFRR partners demand Belgrade court set Belarusian journalist free

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the undersigned partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in demanding the immediate release of Andrey Gniot, a Belarusian journalist and pro-democracy activist who is being held in custody by Serbian authorities on politically motivated charges formulated by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Since October, Serbian courts have been deliberating upon a request to deport Gniot to Belarus. According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), an independent trade union in exile, Gniot was arrested immediately upon his arrival to Serbia on October 30. He was detained based on an international arrest warrant…

WPFD 2024: MFRR partners sound the alarm over press freedom in Europe

On World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2024, the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) stand in solidarity with media workers everywhere and draw attention to the deteriorating press freedom situation in Europe. Since WPFD 2023, the MFRR partners have documented more than 1,000 media freedom violations affecting over 1,500 journalists or media entities in European Union Member States and candidate countries. As the year progressed, the MFRR witnessed physical attacks, harassment online and offline, the continued use of vexatious lawsuits to stifle critical reporting, further pressure on sustainable revenue streams for independent media, government attempts to muzzle public media, and tragically…

Terrorism investigation into Catalan journalist raises concerns ahead of elections

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners to express concerns over the terrorism investigation by the Spanish authorities of journalist Jesús Rodríguez Sellés. The journalist left Spain for Switzerland citing a lack of guarantees for practicing his profession and the threat of arbitrary arrest in Spain. The investigation, lasting for four years after the alleged crime, coincides with negotiations over the amnesty law for pro-independence leaders. Fearing politicization of the case, the Media Freedom Rapid Response partners call for a review of the investigations’ circumstances, allowing Rodríguez Sellés to continue his journalism freely.…

Belgium: Police raided two Kurdish TVs and seized journalistic materials

On the night of 22-23 April 2024, the Belgian federal police searched the premises of the building of the Kurdish television channels Stêrk TV and Medya Haber (Medya News) in Denderleeuw, Flanders. The police operation was conducted as part of a European Investigation Order (EPO) on terrorist financing. The news channels reported serious material damage and equipment seizure. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Belgian affiliate, the Flemish Association of Journalists (VVJ), in strongly condemning the show of force that accompanied the search and urged authorities to guarantee that the confidentiality of journalists’ sources is respected. The search…

Bulgaria Minister urged to drop defamation lawsuit

The Media Freedom Rapid Response consortium partners criticise the criminal defamation lawsuit filed by Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov against investigative journalists Atanas Chobanov and Dimitar Stoyanov of the Bureau for Investigative Reporting and Data (BIRD). The undersigned organisations believe that the lawsuit is designed to silence legitimate investigative reporting and should be immediately withdrawn. The legal action stems from the journalists’ reporting on a property deal that allegedly connected the current Minister of Interior to Martin Bozhanov, an individual known as ‘the Notary’, who was murdered earlier this year following extensive allegations of corruption against him. Kalin Stoyanov has denied…

Georgia: Press freedom erosion amid reintroduced ‘Foreign agent law’

25 April 2024 12:00 CET REGISTER HERE On April 25, 2024, the Media Freedom Rapid Response will host a webinar addressing the recent decline in press freedom in Georgia. This decline has been exacerbated by the reintroduction of a Russia-style foreign agent law earlier this month. The new law, titled ‘Transparency of Foreign Influence’ requires independent media and civil society organisations that receive funding from abroad to label themselves as “organisations pursuing the interests of a foreign power.” Since then, journalists from online media were barred from the parliament when the law was being debated and on April 16, 2024, reporters from online media…

Slovakia: EFJ President Maja Sever joined protest against SNS offensive on media, culture, environment and NGO sector

Over 1,500 protesters gathered on 16 April 2024 in front of the National Council of the Slovak Republic to express their disagreement with legislation proposed by the Slovak National Party (SNS). Invited by the Otvorená Kultúra! Platform, the President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Maja Sever took the floor to express solidarity and recall the legacy of the murdered investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and its significance for free journalism and democracy. Under the slogan “You Divide, We Unite!”, protesters called on the current government to withdraw the controversial legislative proposals aimed at political control of the media and…

Georgia: MFRR partners strongly condemn new attempts to introduce a law on “Transparency of Foreign Influence”

The undersigned media freedom organisations strongly condemn Georgia’s ruling party’s renewed effort to pass a Russian-style “foreign agent” law that would threaten media freedom and civic space in the country, which received EU candidate status last year. We call on the Georgian Dream (GD) party to immediately withdraw this restrictive piece of legislation. On Wednesday, 3 April, the ruling GD party announced it would reintroduce a “foreign agent” bill, which was passed in a first hearing in 2023 but subsequently withdrawn following widespread protests and international criticism. On 8 April, the Georgian Parliament’s Bureau formally registered the bill under the…

Safety and justice: demanding accountability for attacks against journalists in Serbia

Commemorating 25 years since the brutal murder of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija, the European Federation of Journalists joins the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners and the SafeJournalists Networkto condemn the continued impunity surrounding his assassination and demand accountability for all acts of violence committed against journalists in Serbia. The recent acquittal of security officers accused of Ćuruvija’s murder, as well as the escalating attacks against journalists in Novi Sad, underscore the urgent need for authorities to act and protect press freedom in Serbia. Ćuruvija, an esteemed editor and publisher, was fatally shot in front of his home in Belgrade on 11 April 1999.…

Three years later: still no justice for murdered Greek journalist

Three years have elapsed since the assassination of Giorgos Karaivaz, a veteran Greek crime reporter. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joins the undersigned members of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) to commemorate his death and renew demands on the Greek authorities to redouble their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice. Giorgos Karaivaz was one of Greece’s most prominent investigative journalists specialising in organised crime and police reporting when he was gunned down in broad daylight outside his Athens home on 9 April 2021. The execution was conducted by professional hitmen who escaped on a motorbike and…