Malta: The Shift News faces a freedom of information battle with the government

We, the undersigned free expression, press freedom, and journalists’ organisations, express support for The Shift News as it faces an all-out legal battle against 40 freedom of information (FOI) lawsuits brought by 40 government entities in Malta. These appeal lawsuits pose a serious threat to the country’s already worrying freedom of information and press freedom climate. We call for these cases to be immediately dropped and for the government of Malta to fully comply with its FOI obligations going forward. In July 2021, Malta’s Data Protection Commissioner ruled in favour of 40 FOI requests filed by independent media outlet The…

EFJ welcomes UK government SLAPPs reforms

New measures to prevent legislation used to intimidate journalists and threaten press freedom have been announced in the United Kingdom. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in welcoming a package of proposals from UK government clamping down on powerful individuals, who attempt to use strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), to intimidate journalists and influence reporting. Under the announced reforms, a new three-part test will be used in an early dismissal process to determine whether a SLAPP case can be struck out. The test will include an assessment of whether a case…

Hungary: We welcome EU court referral over Klubrádió frequency

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined media freedom and freedom of expression organisations in welcoming the European Commission’s decision to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union over the February 2021 decision of the country’s Media Council to force independent broadcaster Klubrádió from the airwaves. This decision by the EU’s executive body to take Hungary to court over the alleged breach in EU telecoms rules regarding Klubrádió’s frequency licence is a belated but important signal that the Commission is increasingly willing to use the tools available to it to defend independent media, freedom of…

EU Rule of Law Report: Europe needs a strong Media Freedom Act

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the publication on Wednesday 13 July of the European Commission’s report on the rule of law. This third annual report highlights the threats to media pluralism and the safety of journalists in EU Member States. The EFJ called on the European Commission to adopt a binding and demanding Media Freedom Act to compel Member States to take action. The third EU Rule of Law report features specific recommendations targeted at individual member states. Sixteen EU countries have been urged to take measures to protect journalists, media freedom and pluralism (see below). The findings…

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Greece: Real Group media offices targeted in arson attack

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined its partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN) in condemning the arson attack on the offices of newspaper Real News and the radio station Real FM in Athens on 13 July 2022. Our organisations call on the Greek law enforcement authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the motive and circumstances behind the fire and to bring the perpetrators and masterminds to justice. This case is yet another worrying example of the deteriorating press freedom in Greece, which requires…

Belarus: journalist Katsiaryna Andreeva sentenced to 8 years for alleged treason

Belarusian journalist Katsiaryna Andreeva, a correspondent with the Poland-based independent broadcaster Belsat TV, has been sentenced on July 13 to eight years in prison for alleged treason charges. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounces this parody of justice and calls on the authorities in Belarus to stop harassing and prosecuting media workers, and release all journalists imprisoned for their work. On July 4, Andreeva’s trial on alleged treason charges started behind closed doors in the southeastern city of Homel. On July 13, the Homel Regional Court sentenced the journalist to eight years in prison on charges of treason against…

Safety of journalists: Media employers need to fulfill their duty of care

Media employers have to do more to fulfil their duty of care for journalists’ safety, especially freelance and female journalists who are more vulnerable, concluded in a safety workshop held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) in the Hilversum Media Park on 4 and 5 July.  The workshop, attended by more than 40 EFJ members, legal experts, journalists and media representatives, highlighted the increasing dangers to journalists, both physical and online, with little awareness from media employers of these threats and a flagrant lack of resources to ensure their safety. According to…

Russia: EFJ and IFJ condemn suspension and demand for liquidation of independent Russian trade union JMWU

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) have condemned moves by the Russian authorities to shut down the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU). The EFJ and IFJ urge the Russian authorities to drop the lawsuit against JMWU and to end their crackdown on independent journalists and media outlets in Russia. On 5 July, the Moscow City Court notified JMWU that the Moscow prosecutor had filed a lawsuit to liquidate the journalists’ union. Pending judgment, the court decided on 4 July to order a suspension of the union’s activities. The preliminary hearing of the case is set for 13 July. JMWU…

Spain: International Press Centre opens in Santiago de Compostela

On 9, July 2022, the Santiago de Compostela’s Journalists Association (APSC) inaugurated the International Press Centre of Galicia in the regional capital. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the inauguration of this meeting point for citizens and media professionals. Among many representatives from European media organisations and unions, including the IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, the president of the Spanish Journalists Federation (FAPE), Miguel Ángel Noceda and the APSC president Luis Menéndez were present to lead the event. The newly created centre features a meeting room and a large office space for journalists. The APSC will run the different activities…

Ukraine: Authorities should withdraw the draft media law

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) shares the call made by its Ukrainian affiliates, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) for the Ukrainian authorities to bring the media legislation in line with European standards of press freedom. The EFJ, NUJU and IMTUU welcome the decision of the European Union Heads of State and Government to grant Ukraine the status of an EU candidate country. The EFJ and its affiliates in Ukraine recall that this implies a thorough revision of the Ukrainian media legislation. The current draft media law, introduced…