European Federation of Journalists

The arbitrary detention of Julian Assange set a dangerous precedent for journalists

Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, is currently detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom. He faces extradition to the United States and criminal prosecution under the US Espionage Act. He has been charged for publishing the Afghanistan and Iraq war diaries and US embassy cables, important documents that many journalists around the world used and helped to publicise. The “War Diaries” provided evidence that the US Government misled the public about activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and committed war crimes. “We believe that the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange set an extremely dangerous precedent for…

UK: EFJ and NUJ renew appeal for O’Hagan investigation

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined today the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland renewed call for an independent investigation into the murder of Sunday World journalist and union activist Martin O’Hagan. In a joint statement marking the anniversary of Martin’s murder on 28 September 2001, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary and Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary called for the appointment of an external investigator to carry out an independent inquiry into the murder and the subsequent failure of the police to secure conviction for the murder. The statement said: “The NUJ remains gravely concerned at…

UK: journalist Owen Jones attacked by four men

Guardian journalist Owen Jones has been physically assaulted in London while celebrating his 35th birthday with friends in the early hours of Saturday morning. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemned the outrageous attack on Owen Jones and called on the British authorities to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to justice. After leaving a bar near King’s Cross in London on the night of Saturday 17 August, at about 3am, a group of men approached Owen Jones and his friends and began hitting him in the head from behind. According to reports, Jones fell to the ground after…

Meeting of the Advisory Board of “The illiberal Turn” Project

Dr Vaclav Stetka (PI) and Professor Sabina Mihelj (Co-I) have been awarded an ESRC standard research grant for a project titled “The Illiberal Turn? News Consumption, Political Polarisation and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe” (£817,000). The project will carry out a comparative analysis of the relationship between news consumption and political attitudes in four CEE countries – Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Serbia, at a key point in time when the region is witnessing the rise of populist leaders, resurgence of illiberal nationalism, and a shift towards authoritarian forms of government. Scheduled to run from May 2019 until November 2021,…

Ambassador of Canada to the EU: “Journalists are modern heroes”

On 14 June, the UK Representation to the European Union (EU) and the Mission of Canada to the EU hosted the event “Thought is free: Protecting and promoting media freedom”. In two panels, six discussants shared their thoughts on media freedom, fact checking, safety of journalists, the loss of trust in media and the daily struggles of female journalists. The event was organised in the lead of the Global Conference for Media Freedom to take place on 11-11 July in London. In his opening statement, the Ambassador of Canada Dan Costello quoted journalists to be “modern heroes”, listing a worrying…

Joint Declaration of trade unions and employers’ organisations of the EU Audiovisual Sector on Brexit

The Signatories in the Audiovisual Sector express their grave concern about the potential threat to the Audiovisual industry posed by Brexit. We call on the negotiators on both sides to ensure that the interests of the Audiovisual industry across the EU and the UK be protected in the current negotiations and in particular to give special consideration to the potentially very severe damage for their business operators and workers if the future framework for the cooperation between the EU and the UK Audiovisual sector are not adapted. More specifically: There are fears that, in the film and sector, important co-production…

UK: new terror bill may restrict free speech

The United Kingdom is currently discussing a new terror bill including a wide range of anti-terrorism and border security measures. Many voices, including the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and recently the influential Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), raised concerns on the bill and its possible side effects on freedom of the press. The bill aims to close a number of loopholes in existing counter-terrorism legislation, in order to guarantee enough powers to the police and security services. However, according to the NUJ, “a number of clauses that could gravely endanger legitimate, public interest, media reporting of terrorists and…

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