Freedom of expression deteriorates in EU candidate countries, shows EU progress reports

The European Commission published on 17 April 2018 its annual Enlargement Package, including the country reports (formerly known as “progress reports”), assessing the implementation of the European Union’s enlargement policy regarding the accession process of the Western Balkans and Turkey. These country reports shows alarmingly precarious working conditions of journalists as the level of press freedom deteriorates further. In four countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) no progress has been achieved in the area of press freedom. Issues of attacks on journalists, defamation cases media ownership, lack of funding of the public service broadcasters and self-censorship prevail. Some of…

New Council of Europe report calls on Montenegrin legislators to ensure professional rights of journalists

The final report “Montenegro Media Sector Inquiry” published on 5 April 2018, expressed the urgent need for Montenegrin authorities to guarantee professional rights of journalists. A group of independent experts carried out a detailed analysis of the Montenegrin media sector from August 2017 until January 2018. Representatives from the EFJ’s Montenegrin affiliate, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (SMCG) were consulted for the investigation. The report found that the private Montenegrin media had failed to engage with the SMCG about a collective agreement prepared by the national journalist trade union a year ago. The EFJ backs the recommendation addressed to private…

Western Balkans: media freedoms and safety of journalists still at risk

A delegation of the Western Balkans’ Regional Platform project for advocating media freedom and journalists’ safety visited Brussels on March 21st and 22nd and held meetings and consultations with the members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European Commission from the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement negotiations (DG NEAR). Representatives of journalists’ associations and a trade union from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia presented the journalists’ safety and the media situation in their countries. They emphasised joint problems their members and other journalists face, including poor working conditions, fear for personal safety due to work,…

In the front line to raise trust in journalism in South East Europe

On Monday (22/01/2018), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) organised a training of trainers workshop for the Labour Rights Expert Group Plus (LAREG+) at the EU InfoCentre in Podgorica (Montenegro) in the framework of its project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey, financially supported by the UNESCO and the European Union. Trade union or professional association representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo followed the training given by Croatian journalist and trade unionist Gabrijela Galic on how to build trust in media in the Western Balkans. The Turkish participant was not allowed to leave…

Incentivising media rights and plurality by supporting good practices in Western Balkans and Turkey

“How to improve the precarious state of journalism in South East Europe and Turkey” was the topic of a press conference held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14th November 2017 at the Press Club Brussels. The press conference took place in the framework of the EFJ project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – a project supported financially by UNESCO and the European Union. Andris Kesteris, principal advisor at DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) at the European Commission and Tarja Turtia, UNESCO Programme Specialist, attended the event to hear representatives of…

Montenegro: Journalist Vladimir Otasevic received death threat

A Montenegrin journalist working for Dan newspaper, Vladimir Otasevic, reported that the Prime Minister’s brother, Velizar Markovic, had threatened his safety during a phone call on Monday 11 September. In the conversation, Otasevic was asking for a phone number of the Prime Minister’s other brother when Markovic  insulted and verbally threatened him, saying that he shouldn’t be surprised if someone ends up dead at the end. An audio recording of the conversation was released by Dan on Tuesday. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today strongly condemned the death threats and backed its affiliate in Montenegro, the Trade Union Media…

Trial against Montenegrin journalist Martinovic to continue on April 11

The European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Montenegro expressing their grave concerns on the ongoing trial against investigative journalist Jovo Martinovic. “Together with our affiliate the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (SMCG), we wish to recall our letter of 2 September, in which we raised our concern over the arrest of detention of Mr. Martinovic for membership of a criminal organisation and drug offences, despite compelling evidence which shows he was only doing his job as an undercover investigative journalist.” At the beginning of the year Martinovic received…