European Federation of Journalists

Transparency of media ownership: Twitter started to label some “state-affiliated” media

Twitter introduced on Thursday new labels to identify accounts belonging to government officials and senior staff of state-backed media. Key government officials such as foreign ministers, ambassadors and official spokespeople will receive the label, as will accounts belonging to “state-affiliated” media entities, their editors-in-chief and their senior staff, Twitter said. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is in favor of transparency of ownership of all media, but is wary of labelling initiatives that do not appear transparent or that do not seem to be based on objective criteria. The Twitter label appears as part of an account’s bio and is…

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,…

Council of Europe: new guidelines on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership

The Council of Europe has issued guidelines to its 47 member states in order to promote media pluralism, transparency of media ownership and media literacy. In a Recommendation adopted today, the Committee of Ministers endorses a comprehensive framework of guidelines for creating a pluralist, transparent and participatory media environment, both offline and online. States are encouraged to develop strategies for increasing the sustainability of a variety of media ranging from public service media, local, minority, community and cross-border media. States are also encouraged to support quality independent and investigative journalism, whilst fully respecting the editorial and operational autonomy of the…

The European Parliament urges the Commission to protect whistleblowers

With the adoption of Virginie Rozière‘s report today (24.10.2017) in plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament is sending a strong signal to the European Commission, demanding an EU-wide legislation protecting whistleblowers across the 27 Member States. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) warmly thanks the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who voted in favour of a full protection for whistleblowers. A total of 666 MEPs took part in the vote: 399 (60%) voted in favour of the report, 101 (15%) voted against and 166 (25%) abstained from voting. Proposed by Virginie Rozière (S&D), the report demands an EU-wide protection…

EU Court to decide on the right to know about MEPs’ expenditures

The upcoming public hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of 29 journalists (from every EU member state) against the European Parliament will take place on October 19, 2017 in Luxembourg. This important case relates to twenty-nine journalists who have filed 27 complaints with the European Court of Justice against the European Parliament which refused to give information on how members of the European Parliament (MEP) spend their allowances. The journalists asked for documents regarding the money MEPs receive on top of their salaries, including a general allowance, travel allowance, daily subsistence and funds for staffing,…

Right to Know Day 2016 #AccessToInfoDay

On the first officially-recognised International Right to Know Day, European civil society groups and professional organisations (including the European Federation of Journalists) working on the right of access to information today raised concerns that a lack of government transparency is damaging democratic processes, thereby facilitating rising mistrust and demagogic populism in Europe. Recent monitoring by civil society organisations has demonstrated that while significant progress has been made – there are now 111 access to information laws globally and governments regularly publish key datasets on spending and services – there remain serious shortcomings with transparency of decision making which is shielding…

Cyprus must improve access to information law, says EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined Access Info Europe (AIE) in calling the Cypriot Government to improve its draft access to information law in order to meet international transparency standard. According to the global Right to Info Rating, the Republic of Cyprus freedom of information bill is set to become one of the worst in Europe. Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) studied the draft text using the 61 indicators of the Right to Information Rating and found that Cyprus scores a dismal 57 points (out of 150) which positions itself near the buttom…

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