European Federation of Journalists

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We send regularly press releases in English about journalists’ trade unions news and the situation of press freedom in Europe.

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ARTICLE19 briefing: How to tackle misinformation about COVID-19

Picture credit: Article19.

Professional journalism, ethical journalism, independent media, transparency from those in power, media literacy and the free flow of information are the best antidote to misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of COVID-19 across the globe. In that particular context, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed the policy brief recently issued by ARTICLE19. “More than ever we need professional journalists in the field. Citizens are counting on them to report on the real impact of the pandemic, to disseminate protective measures and to hold decision-makers accountable. The EFJ asks media owners to refrain from any initiative to reduce wages,…

Hungary: EFJ urges again the EU to condemn limits on freedom of information

Picture credit: #ProtectDemocracyDuringCorona.

In the wake of our discussion on Friday with the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) expressed again today its serious concerns about the sweeping powers granted to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in a parliamentary vote approving indefinite rule by decree and jail terms for spreading misinformation. The EFJ fully supports the petition “No Quarantine for Democracy!” developed with MEPs (including Ramona Strugariu, Stelios Kouloglou, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Lara Wolters and Guy Verhofstadt), which is calling on all EU Member States to ensure reinforced protections for journalists, the media…

Belarusian investigative journalist Siarhei Satsuk detained

Credit: Siarhei Satsuk / Euroradio

Siarhei Satsuk, journalist and chief editor of the online publication EJ.BY, was detained on 25 March in Minsk by officers of the Department of Financial Investigations of the State Control Committee. The police confirmed that Satsuk was interrogated as a suspect in a criminal case. According to his relatives and friends, he is charged with receiving bribes. He faces 3 to 10 years jail term. Siarhei Satsuk is known for his investigative work. His last high-profile investigation denounced systemic corruption in the Belarusian Ministry of Health. Lately, he criticised the government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In August 2019,…

COVID-19: Council of Europe must ensure press freedom is protected

Picture credit: Council of Europe.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 72 journalists’ organisations across 45 countries, today called on Europe’s top human rights and democracy organization to protect free flow of information and ensure that media freedom is guaranteed as states strive to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. EFJ joined with nine other press freedom and journalists groups to write to the heads of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe to express its profound concerns over the dangers of governments taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to punish independent and critical media and introduce…

Turkey: Release imprisoned journalists and human rights defenders at risk of coronavirus

Picture credit: Adem Altan / AFP.

Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, the Turkish government is accelerating the preparation of a draft law that will reportedly release up to 100,000 prisoners. This is a welcome step. Overcrowding and unsanitary facilities already pose a serious health threat to Turkey’s prison population of nearly 300,000 prisoners and about tens of thousands of prison staff. That will only be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. However, we remain concerned that journalists, human rights defenders and others imprisoned for simply exercising their rights, and others who should be released, will remain behind bars in the package of…

COVID-19: restrictions on access to information in Romania

Picture credit: Ludovic Marin / AFP.

The president of Romania Klaus Werner Iohannis signed on 16 March an emergency decree which, among other measures, allows the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) to order take-down notices for websites and news reports containing “fake news”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) believes that governments are right to tackle misinformation . However, these measures could lead to self-censorship. Public authorities may be tempted to abuse the powers to suppress coverage that deviates from the official line and tries to hold them accountable. The Romanian emergency decree includes an article on countering the spread of pandemic…