Belarus: harassers of journalists’ association will be held accountable

The Belarusian Ministry of Justice has just ordered an inspection of the activities of the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). The letter that BAJ received this Monday morning demands that the independent representative organisation of journalists submit thousands of documents dated since 1 January 2018 to the Department of Non-Profit Organisations of the Ministry of Justice. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will denounce at the highest level any attempt to intimidate and harass BAJ. The EFJ asked its Belarusian affiliate to share the identity of all those involved in this examination of BAJ activities by the Belarusian Ministry of…

Slovenian authorities should halt the deterioration of media freedom

In a Memorandum published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, calls on the Slovenian authorities to put a stop to the marked deterioration of freedom of expression and of the media in the country. The Commissioner warns that some steps taken by the Slovenian government in recent months risk undermining the ability of independent voices to speak freely. She stresses that hostile public discourse, as well as smear campaigns and intimidation targeting civil society activists and those who express critical opinions, harm free expression and can have a chilling effect on media freedom. The Commissioner…

Two Azerbaijani journalists killed in landmine explosion

Two Azerbaijani journalists and an official were killed today by a landmine explosion in the Kalbajar region, west of Nagorno-Karabakh. Four others were injured in the incident, which saw a truck blown up by an anti-tank mine at about 11am local time, Azerbaijan’s interior ministry and the office of the prosecutor general said in a statement. The three victims were identified as Maharram Ibrahimov, a reporter working for state news agency AzerTag, Siraj Abishov, a cameraman for Azerbaijan state television AzTV, and local official Arif Aliyev. The explosion occurred when a bus carrying journalists who were on duty in the Kalbajar region…

Teresa Ribeiro urges immediate and unconditional release of all detained journalists in Belarus

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its affiliate in Belarus, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), welcome today’s statement by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro urging “the public authorities in Belarus to free all journalists and other media workers who have been sentenced, arrested or detained in the country. Most of these journalists were apprehended for their reporting on public events and other political developments in the country.” “This systematic clampdown on journalists and media workers is a gross violation of the OSCE commitments related to freedom of expression and media freedom, voluntary undertaken…

Bosnia-Herzegovina: attacks on journalists must stop says ETUC

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemns the threats and insults by Bosnian Serb politician Milorad Dodik against journalist Tanja Topic. Currently a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dodik called the journalist a German agent and ‘quisling’. It is the latest in his campaign of threats and insults against journalists who is he disagrees with. ETUC defends democracy and the rights of independent journalists and a free media, and says that threats and insults against journalists, and anyone else, should have no place in the rhetoric of elected politicians. “This is a new low for Dodik and…

Serbia: Investigative outlet KRIK sued by state security agency director

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is deeply concerned by the lawsuit targeted at a journalist and the editor-in-chief of the Network for Investigation of Crime and Corruption (KRIK) by the director of Serbia’s Security-Information Agency (BIA). The MFRR urges the BIA director Bratislav Gasic to immediately withdraw the civil lawsuit against KRIK and to refrain from weaponising the law to intimidate media outlets investigating the nexus between crime, corruption and politics in Serbia. The SLAPP lawsuit stems from anarticle KRIK published on April 9 which reported details of wiretapped conversations played as evidence in the murder trial of criminal…

Croatia: New abusive lawsuits hit journalists and media outlets

Journalists and media in Croatia are targeted by new legal threats, warned the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) and Union (SNH) with five lawsuits filed against Telegram.hr portal. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemns the widespread practices in the country, also known as SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), whose objectives are to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with court proceedings. Last month, judge Zvonko Vrban, president of Osijek County Court, filed five lawsuits against the Telegram.hr portal for five articles written by journalist Drago Hedl about irregularities in the judge’s work. Vrban announced that damages…

Croatia: Prime Minister Plenković attacked media after local elections

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliate in Croatia, the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), in condemning the latest verbal attacks and accusations by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković towards media and journalists after the local elections on 30 May. Shortly after the second round of local elections in Croatia last Sunday, the Prime Minister once again attacked the media, accusing them of “being paid to vilify a political camp” and of deliberately and repeatedly misnaming the HDZ’s candidate for Zagreb mayor, Davor Filipović, in debates in the first election round. Plenković also accused the media of being “mercenaries who disgust one’s…

Online seminar “Trust in media: Trends, Skills and Training in Journalism”

The journalistic profession is rapidly changing as a result of the emergence of new technologies. Journalists are expected to acquire new skills and do multi-tasking. They have to be an all-in-one journalist, photographer and camera operator. At the same time, they are caught up in the 24-hours news cycle and lack the time to take part in training in order to learn new skills. Instead, most of them are learning these new skills while performing their jobs. Media companies are less and less interested in offering training for their journalists due to budget cuts. How can we solve this dilemma…

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Politician Milorad Dodik attacks yet another journalist

The journalist and political analyst Tanja Topić was wildly attacked and threatened by Milorad Dodik, the Chairman of the BiH state Presidency, on 24 May. He denounced her as “an agent of the German BND” and a “quisling”. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the BH Journalists’ Association (BHJA), in condemning yet another violation to press freedom by one of the highest political officials in the country. This is not the first time Milorad Dodik is targeting journalists as “traitors”, “mercenaries” and “hostile media” or that he insulted or humiliated journalists whose reporting he disagrees with. This latest…