European Federation of Journalists

Victory for press freedom in Germany: Global mass surveillance ruled unconstitutional

Today, the German Federal Constitutional Court has declared the monitoring of worldwide Internet traffic by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) to be unconstitutional. The ruling says that the BND is bound by the fundamental rights of the Basic Law when conducting telecommunications surveillance of foreigners in other countries, and it violates the fundamental right to privacy of telecommunications (Art. 10(1) of the Basic Law, Grundgesetz – GG) and the freedom of the press (Art. 5). Back in 2016 the Bundestag  passed a law that allowed the Federal Intelligence Service to spy on foreign journalists. As this destroys the trust between journalists…

Germany: lawyer’s attempts to influence reporting are increasing

German media’s legal departments see an increase of lawyer’s attempts to prevent journalists from reporting. That was found out by the new study “If you write that, I will sue you! Preventive strategies of lawyers against media”, published on 08 August. The research filed by the German Otto Brenner Foundation in cooperation with the “Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte” determined that legal departments receive an average of three preventive warnings per month. The strategy: “press law information letters” Knowing that they don’t have a legal right to prevent a media from publishing an article concerning their clients, lawyers have the common practice…

The EU General Court denies a group of journalists access to MEPs’ expenses

The General Court of the European Union ruled on 25 September 2018 that MEPs expenses can remain secret. The highest court confirmed the European Parliament’s refusal to give access to documents related to MEPs’ expenses to a group of journalists, claiming that this would undermine MEPs’ personal privacy. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemns this decision and renews its call to improve transparency and access to information in the European Union. The request was forwarded to the European Parliament (EP) in 2015 by a group of 29 journalists, who wanted to access information on the MEPs’ spending records. According to Euractiv,…

Macedonia: Election Commission authorised to fine media for ‘Unbalanced Reporting’

Several amendments to the Electoral Code were passed  by the Macedonian Parliament on 25 July 2018 in a fast-track procedure, as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the four main political parties. An amendment to the Electoral Code empowers the State Election Commission to register and monitor online media reporting on the elections. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Macedonian affiliates, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM-ZNM), the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), joined by the Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia, in criticising the new Electoral Code, as the…

EFJ calls on EU to reinstate media freedom budget

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) sent a letter to the Commissioners Gabriel and Oettinger on 24 May 2018 to express our concern that freedom of expression will not be reflected in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). We believe that it is crucial for media freedom and media pluralism to be given a clear priority in the EU budget for the future (2021-2027). Other media freedom organisations like the ECPMF sent a letter to Commissioners Gabriel, Navracsics, Oettinger and First Vice-President of the European Commission Timmermanns. Missing Freedom of expression budget in Multiannual Financial Framework Dear Commissioner, We write to you on…

Montenegrin investigative journalist Olivera Lakić shot and injured

The European and the International Federation of journalists (EFJ/IFJ) joined its Montenegrin affiliate, the Trade Union of Journalists of Montenegro (SMCG) in condemning the attack on Vijesti journalist Olivera Lakić, who was shot in the leg outside her home on 8 May 2018, in Podgorica. She was taken to the hospital and remains in stable condition after a man shot her in the right leg, while two other men ran away, according to Vijesti’s editor-in-chief. Olivera Lakić is working as an investigative journalist for the daily newspaper Vijesti. She is known for investigating crime and corruption in Montenegro. According to media reports she…

Hungary: two media outlets forced to close following Orbán’s electoral win

Radio station Lánchíd Rádió as well as Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet have shut down on 10 and 11 April 2018. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is appalled by the latest developments following Orbán’s electoral win, which further narrows media pluralism in Hungary. The Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet and its online version were forced to close yesterday due to financial reasons. A sudden increase in rent of the publishing buildings, whose owners are reported to be close to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orbán, led it to cease its media production.  The Hungarian radio station Lánchíd Rádió…

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