Serbia: Journalists’ associations targeted by a financial probe

The Serbian Finance Ministry’s Money Laundering Prevention Department sent a request on 13 July to banks asking them to provide information related to bank records of 37 civil organisations, media and 20 individuals. The affiliates of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) appear on this list. The request is about all Serbian dinar and foreign currency accounts and transactions from January 2019 and is aimed “to establish whether the NGOs and individuals are connected to money laundering or terrorism”. The list, which also includes Balkan Investigative…

120 alerts in 4 months: first MFRR-report documents severe threats to media freedom across Europe

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE The year 2020 seems to add another sad chapter on the decline of media freedom in Europe. Main reasons were the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, police violence and online harassment. Find all details in first MFRR-report. The monitoring report compiled by European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and International Press Institute (IPI), with support from ECPMF, gives unprecedented insight into the threats to media freedom in EU member states and Candidate Countries. Within the monitored period from March to June a total of 120 alerts were registered on the mappingmediafreedom.org platform from two-thirds of the countries covered…

Hungary media freedom crackdown: our letter to EU leaders

To the consideration of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Heiko Maas, Federal Foreign Minister on behalf of Germany’s presidency of the Council of the EU Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners are profoundly concerned about the latest media freedom attacks in Hungary, which follow only days after the EU Summit, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised the rule of law situation in his country.   Dear President von der Leyen, Dear President Michel, Dear Federal Foreign Minister Maas, Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners are profoundly concerned by…

EFJ condemns death and rape threats against Brussels-based journalist Tanja Milevska

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemns the online harassment, including threats of physical and sexual violence, against journalist Tanja Milevska, working for the North Macedonia news agency MIA as a Brussels correspondent. Milevska received dozens of verbal abuses, hate speech, death and rape threats on social network after she tweeted on 11 July asking whether Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament recognise the constitutional change of 2019 making “North Macedonia” the country’s official name. Following the tweets, trolls and active political figures have been fuelling threats for the past four days in an…

Serbia: violent attacks against journalists during two consecutive nights of protests

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) are extremely concerned by violence against journalists during the protests currently taking place in several cities in Serbia since the 7th of July. In two days, we have been informed of at least 14 attacks against journalists and media workers who were on the field to report in the public interest. The Federations condemn the brutal attacks by police forces as well as by demonstrators, and join their affiliates in Serbia, UNS, NUNS and SINOS, in calling on the police to respect the work of the journalists. Thousands of protesters took to…

Support to Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland who has received over 55 threats of legal action

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a mechanism to monitor and respond to threats against journalists and media workers in EU Member States and Candidate Countries, has responded to the unprecedented legal threats made against Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza by contributing €15,000, it’s largest grant to date, to support the outlet’s legal defence. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), a MFRR partner, backs grant toward legal defence of newspaper.  Since 2015, Gazeta Wyborcza has received over 55 legal threats, including civil defamation actions and alleged infringement of personal interests by a number of actors including Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of…

Fresh attacks worsen climate of hostility against journalists covering protests across Europe

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners have raised further concerns about continued violence against journalists covering protests and demonstrations across European Union (EU) Member States and Candidates in 2020. The group calls for increased protection, police training and oversight, as well as broader respect for media freedom. In the first six months of the year, MFRR partners have documented over 31 separate cases of attacks and media freedom violations against at least 41 different journalists and media workers reporting from protests and demonstrations in 11 EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The figures, documented…

Stop use of SLAPPs: EFJ joins coalition to express concern about legal threats against EUobserver

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners, journalist bodies, free expression and journalist support organisations are concerned about the legal threats made against EUobserver in Luxembourg and Belgium and call to stop the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) actions across Europe. Left unreformed, such legal threats will be sufficient to silence media workers and outlets. We stand in solidarity with EUobserver and will continue to monitor developments around the case. In 2019, EUobserver published an article in the English language investigating the actions of a British PR firm, Chelgate, on behalf of the Maltese state. According to the…

Press Cartoonists in Europe must be protected

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins MFRR partners call for press cartoonists to be protected to ensure they can realise their right to free expression across Europe. Across the European Union and Candidate Countries, cartoonists have been targeted for their work by state and non-state actors from within and outside Europe. This includes online harassment and threats, attempted censorship and legal prosecution. The MFRR partners, joined by Cartooning for Peace (CfP) and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), condemn these attacks against press cartoons, which have grown in number as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and reiterate their…