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…

2 years on, Ukrainian journalists still pay a heavy price for the war

February 24 marks two years since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Today, the organizations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) reaffirm our solidarity with Ukrainian journalists and call for guarantees of their safety and full freedom to report, as well as a renewed effort to provide the necessary financial and technical support for them to continue their work. Over the past two years, Ukraine’s journalists have demonstrated incredible courage and resilience in covering the horrors of this war for their communities and the outside world, often at great personal sacrifice. We call for continued international support…

Germany: Farmers’ blockade of media disrupted newspaper deliveries

Germany is facing a major nationwide media blockade, led mainly by farmers who have demonstrated fervently against the government’s proposed subsidy cuts. Criticising the poor representation of their claims in the media, farmers have blocked access to media premises to interrupt newspaper deliveries during protests lasting hours. Since the beginning of February, farmers have targeted at least three media companies and two publishing houses across the country. The European Federations of Journalists (EFJ) call for calm discussions between farmers and the media, and regret that disruption of newspaper deliveries is being used as a means of protest. “Attacks on the press…

Slovakia: Lack of justice for Kuciak and Kušnírová’s assassination exacerbated by growing attacks on press freedom

On the sixth anniversary of the brutal killing of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the undersigned organisations in renewing our call for long-awaited justice for their killings and the imperative to break the cycle of impunity. As we remember Ján and Martina, we are alarmed by increasing threats to the rule of law and media freedom in Slovakia, in particular relating to the lack of accountability for crimes, the diminished protection of public watchdogs and the stark erosion of democratic institutions. The undersigned international organisations call on the Slovak…

Serbia: Court of Appeals acquits suspects of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija’s murder

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined the Safe Journalists Network (SJN) and other partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in deploring the Belgrade Court of Appeals’s decision to acquit the four suspects for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija. On Friday 2 February 2024, the Belgrade Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Special Department for Organized Crime of the High Court in Belgrade, and acquitted the four suspects for the murder of journalist Slavko Ćuruvija. This disappointing development constitutes a grave backslide to the fight against impunity and further undermines journalists’ safety. This final…

Webinar: Assessing the state of press freedom in Greece

30 January 2024 11:00 CET Register here   On 30 January, international media freedom groups will hold a webinar and press conference to mark the publication of a major report assessing the landscape for press freedom and independent journalism in Greece, following a mission to Athens in September 2023. The report examines the clear period of deterioration in media freedom in the EU Member State over the last few years, identifies the reasons behind this deterioration, and sets out recommendations for steps to be taken to address these many challenges. It also provides a detailed analysis of the measures taken…

Webinar: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Media Freedom in Survival Mode

25 January 2024 10:00 CET Register here On 15 December 2022, the European Council granted Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status for EU membership. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 accelerated the EU enlargement process, Bosnia and Herzegovina has yet to improve its environment for the media to continue on its path towards potential EU accession, as limited progress has been made since submitting its application in 2016. In this MFRR webinar, speakers will discuss the findings of a recent press freedom fact-finding mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlighting the suffocating environment for independent journalists in the country and…

Romania: Media freedom mission ahead of super electoral year

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will join a mission to Romania with the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). The mission aims to take the pulse of the current state of press freedom and independent journalism as the country gears up for a super electoral year in 2024. The mission will consist of two parts: an initial online fact-finding element involving meetings with media, journalists and civil society stakeholders, followed by an in-person visit to Bucharest later in the year to meet with political leaders and state authorities. The initial element of the mission will take place over the week…

MFRR highlights threats to media freedom in EU Commission’s Rule of Law report

Updates on some of the biggest developments and threats to media freedom and pluralism across European Union Member States throughout 2023 were submitted to the EU Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report by partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). On 15 January 2024, MFRR consortium partners Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and the Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) filed detailed submissions to the report on the topic of media freedom and pluralism in Hungary, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The joint and individual submissions provide information of major developments in the media…

Croatia: Dora Kršul and Telegram.hr accused by the Minister of Culture and Media of publishing “malicious fake news”

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expresses its anger at the unacceptable comments made towards awarded journalist Dora Kršul and the media outlet Telegram.hr by the Minister of Culture and Media of Croatia. We demand an immediate apologies and a retraction. “Malicious fake news”: those were the words used by Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek in interviews, to talk about articles published by Telegram.hr and written by Dora Kršul. Discredit, an overused technique, is particularly worrying for the state of press freedom in a country when it comes from the Minister responsible for the media. The journalist, on 15 January, published a follow-up…

Croatia: EFJ calls on MPs to reject “anti-leaks” legislation

The Croatian Parliament began on 18 January 2024 reviewing amendments to the criminal code tabled by the government to criminalise the unauthorised leaking of documents from criminal proceedings. The text provides for up to three years’ imprisonment for anyone disclosing the contents of “an investigative or evidentiary document”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), in calling for the proposed legislation to be dropped, as it would have alarming repercussions for journalistic sources and the right to information. While a paragraph has been added to exempt journalists from criminal liability, the proposed amendments…

Greece: Ahead of court hearing, SLAPP lawsuit against media and journalists must be dropped

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the undersigned international freedom of expression and media freedom organisations today in renewing our condemnation of a groundless defamation lawsuit filed against Greek journalists and media by Grigoris Dimitriadis, the nephew of the Prime Minister, and urge the plaintiff to urgently withdraw the lawsuit ahead of an upcoming hearing. With the first hearing due at an Athens court of First Instance on 25 January, 2024 after a year-and-a-half delay, our organisations restate our shared characterisation of this lawsuit as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) – a vexatious effort to muzzle investigative…

Poland: MFRR reasserts recommendations for democratic reform for press freedom and public media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the undersigned partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today renew their call for democratic and comprehensive reform to Poland’s public broadcasters which creates systematic safeguards to limit the ability of all governments, future and present, to meddle in editorial or institutional independence of the country’s public media. The MFRR coalition also reaffirms the set of recommendations for steps that can be taken by the new coalition government to improve the wider situation for media freedom and independent journalism in Poland. These recommendations were jointly developed following a recent mission of…

Albania: SPAK must respect source protection in case of journalist Elton Qyno

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined media freedom partners in the SafeJournalist Network, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in writing to the head of the Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK). We expressed our concerns over the recent actions SPAK has taken to seize journalist Elton Qyno’s equipment and to pressure him to reveal his sources. The letter urges the SPAK to proceed in the legal case with  respect for international standards regarding the protection of journalistic sources.   Mr. Altin Dumani Head of the Special Prosecution against Corruption and…

Italy: Solidarity with journalist Emilio Orlando, threatened with death

An envelope containing a bullet was sent to Italian journalist Emilio Orlando, whose investigations on the Roman mafia had already made him the target of threats. The letter was delivered to the Roman Trade Union of Journalists (Sindacato dei Cronisti Romani, SCR), a local branch of the FNSI. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate the FNSI in expressing solidarity with the reporter. In the envelope, discovered on 28 November, the police found a 357 Magnum calibre bullet and a note: “This (bullet) is one of the six that we will stick in the head of the bast***…

Hungary: Draft Sovereignty Protection Act poses fresh threat to independent media

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins other partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today to alert the European Union about the chilling impact that the Hungarian ruling party’s proposed Sovereignty Protection Act will have on what remains of the country’s embattled independent media community. Our organisations stress that while media are not named directly within the text of the draft bill, the intentionally vague language and broad scope for application of the proposed law would effectively open the door to state-sponsored pressure on those media which receive foreign funding and produce journalism critical of the government. The…

North Macedonia: Ruling against Investigative Reporting Lab and its editor must be overturned

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins other organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the SafeJournalists Network (SJN) today in expressing shared dismay at a recent defamation verdict by a judge in North Macedonia which recommends shutting down one of the country’s leading investigative media outlets and expects this damaging ruling to be swiftly overturned on appeal. Our organisations warn that this ruling – and the alarming recommendation by the judge – represent a clear violation of international standards, a fundamental failure of the recognition of public interest of the journalism in question, and an attack on…