Climate journalists exposed to repeated pressure and legal risks

Several journalists and media workers working on environmental and climate stories have been subjected to threats and obstruction to press work in 2022, hindering the right to information of the public. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is alarmed by the risks associated with climate journalism throughout Europe and recalls the necessity for media to cover the current ecological and social issues.  Climate journalism has gone from being a niche beat to a field covered by a lot of national and international media outlets. Despite a belated but tangible expansion of the media coverage, journalists’ organisations have witnessed a lack…

France: Three journalists summoned by security agency over suspected violation of national defence secrecy

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in expressing concern over the latest summons issued by France’s top security agency to journalists from investigative platform Disclose and public broadcaster Radio France over the suspected violation of national secrecy in connection with their reporting on the armed forces. Our organisations raise the alarm that the three journalists summoned for voluntary questioning could facepotential prison sentences of up to five years and a fine of €75,000 if charged and ultimately found guilty. We therefore urge the General Directorate of Internal Security…

Latvia: Media regulator urged not to revoke TV Dozhd license pending court review

Update (10.01.2023): The Dutch media regulator has granted a licence to Russian independent channel Dozhd, after Latvia revoked the broadcaster’s permit. Dozhd said it would move its editorial offices to Amsterdam and will contest Latvian authorities’ decision to strip it of the license.   The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today in expressing serious concern over the decision by Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) to revoke the broadcast license of exiled independent Russian TV station Dozhd, which is based in Riga. Given the clear implications for media freedom,…

Multiple journalists threatened and harassed in Serbia, authorities must take urgent action

In the past month in Serbia, several journalists have been targeted by serious threats raising fears for their physical safety. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the Media Freedom Rapid Response partners and the Safe Journalists Network in condemning in the strongest terms the intimidation and often orchestrated campaigns by pro-government media outlets and members of the public to silence journalists. The undersigned organisations urge the authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure their protection and prevent further threats. The latest shocking threat reported on 1 December 2022 targeted Nova S TV’s journalist Jelena Obucina. Obucina received messages…

Tove Carlén: “The Swedish new law on public espionage provides little protection for journalists’ sources”

The Riksdag, Sweden’s highest decision-making body, recently voted through a new law on public espionage. As of 1 January 2023, “foreign espionage”, “aggravated foreign espionage” and “disclosure of secret information in the framework of international cooperation” will be considered as part of the penal code in Swedish legislation following the amendments to two of the four countries’ Constitutional Laws – the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. We spoke to the Legal Advisor of the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJF) Tove Carlén about the impact on journalists and their sources. How does the new…

EU Court of Justice decision to “invalidate” transparency in beneficial ownership is a blow to the right to know

In a landmark decision on 22 November 2022, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the EU anti-money laundering directive’s provisions on access to beneficial ownership registers are “invalid”. The court found that the directive (AMLD5, 2018) interferes with the privacy and personal data protection rights of beneficial owners and should therefore not be made available to a wide public. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounced a decision restricting the freedom of information in favour of business interests. The European legislation was adopted in 2015 with the objective to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by…

The statue outside the headquarters of Slovenian public broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO) in the capital Ljubljana

Slovenia: Media freedom groups back legislative efforts to depoliticise public media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with other international media freedom and journalists’ organisations, today outlined their tentative support for reform of the law on Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO) and the urgent need to depoliticise the public service media and their oversight bodies amidst continued threats to their independence. The undersigned organisations welcome the initiative of the new coalition government to reduce the influence of politics on the broadcaster’s operations and foster an enabling climate for its public service mission. Events of the last few years at RTV SLO have provided a clear illustration of why such changes are…

Bulgaria: ‘Foreign agent’ bill threatens media freedom

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the undersigned international media freedom and journalists organisations in raising the alarm over a draft law submitted to Bulgarian parliament by the far-right Vazrazhdane (Revival) party which would introduce a Russian-style “foreign agent” law involving potential sanctions for media outlets that receive funding from abroad. The draft legislation has been developed by the pro-Russian Vazrazhdane party, which became the fourth largest faction in parliament in the recent elections and is currently in negotiations to form a coalition government. While the passing of the law in the current political climate remains doubtful, it nonetheless…

Belgium: New platform for journalists’ safety

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the launch of a new project by Flemish Association of Journalists (VVJ). The new project called Meldpunt, developing on the pre-existing website Persveilig.be, give the opportunity to Flemish journalists and media workers to report any attack that they face in the context of their work via an online form. The project has been thought out with the close cooperation of all competent ministers (Flemish minister of media Benjamin Dalle, federal justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne and minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden). It focuses on multiple domains: submission of alerts, sensitisation, training and information on topics such as…