New reports highlight journalists’ ethical challenges in the digital age and need for enhanced dialogue with media councils

The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations and the four journalism schools in French-speaking Belgium today released two reports looking at journalists’ and journalism students’ perceptions of self-regulation bodies, ethical standards and challenges they face in the digital age. The findings show that more dialogue and awareness is needed to apprehend ethics in today’s journalism. The Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations collected data on the perception of media councils by working journalists and how they adapt themselves to the challenges in the digital age. More than 400 working journalists from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy,…

France: ‘L’Equipe’ and France TV journalists strike over working conditions and redundancies

Journalists at sports newspaper ‘L’Equipe’ and France TV channels have taken strike action in a dispute over a job protection plan and dismissals. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) stand in solidarity with striking workers and their French affiliates. France’s public TV, France Télévisions, has seen strikes over the past two weeks at its headquarters in Paris, due to the unfair dismissal of four sound illustrators by video-conference, staff opposition to the arbitrary redefinition of working conditions and the excessive workload. In parallel, the unions are to hold a 24-hour strike on 18 January due to the regionalization project at the France 3 network, which was planned without prior consultation with the unions. ‘L’Equipe’…

EFJ demands immediate release of Andrei Alexandrov and other journalists imprisoned in Belarus

Criminal prosecutions of journalists are increasing in Belarus. Journalby editor Andrei Alexandrov was arrested on 12 January. Eight other journalists are still behind bars in Belarus, just for doing their job. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) once again calls on the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union to intervene with the regime of disputed President Lukashenko to secure their immediate release. Andrei Alexandrov was detained as part of a criminal case initiated by the Minsk City Investigation Committee. He is considered as a suspect under article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for “organization and preparation…

Germany: Expert report recommends class action lawsuits for copyright infringements of freelancers

The German Association of Journalists (DJV) and ver.di recently published an assessment report authored by law professor Caroline Meller-Hannich on possible instruments of collective legal protection in copyright law. The report concludes that, when implementing the EU directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, German legislators should not renounce the instrument of a class action law suit or collective litigation.  A class action lawsuit of trade unions or associations is an important aspect of the copyright directive, and is particularly critical for the protection of freelance journalists. Authors regularly have difficulties in enforcing their legal claims to appropriate remuneration.…

Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot journalist harassed by the Turkish government

Turkish Cypriot journalist and publisher Sener Levent is the target of a harassment campaign by the Turkish authorities for his critical reporting on the Turkish government policies in Cyprus. The European Federations of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) join their affiliates, the Union of Cyprus Journalists and the Turkish Cypriot Trade Union of Press Workers Basin Sen in condemning the Turkish attempts to shut down press freedom. Journalist Sener Levent, the editor-in-chief of Afrika newspaper, has been targeted by official and unofficial means by the Turkish government and faces numerous court proceedings because of his reporting. The Turkish government…

Portugal: four journalists under illegal police surveillance

UPDATE (14/01/2021): On 14 January, daily newspaper Sabado revealed that Lisbon prosecutor Andrea Marques also tried to identify the sources of two journalists from the Portuguese public broadcaster RTP. One of these journalists was heard as a witness by the prosecutor’s office in August 2020. —————————— Four Portuguese journalists have been placed under police surveillance, at the request of Lisbon public prosecutor Andrea Marques, as part of the investigation into leaks related to the “e-Toupeira” corruption case, launched in March 2018. Without prior authorisation from an investigating judge and in order to identify the sources of the journalists, Prosecutor Marques…

EFJ/IMS open letter to International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel

The 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship will be played in Minsk (Belarus), but the event should be held in an environment conducive to media freedom. Here is our open letter to International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel. Dear President Fasel, We, the undersigned press freedom and journalists’ organisations, are writing to express our deepest concern about the organisation of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, the city in Belarus which has become a centre of unspeakable repression, human suffering and human rights abuses. We welcome the statements from the Ice Hockey Championship participating countries, raising concerns over…

Slovenia: Radio Študent threatened to lose its funding

Radio Študent will lose funding of its founder the Student Organisation of the University of Ljubljana (ŠOU), the radio announced in a press release on 8 January 2021. According to Radio Študent, the reason put forward is the critical reporting on the ŠOU structure and management. Europe’s largest and oldest independent student radio fears for its existence. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates, the Union of Slovenian Journalists and the Slovenian Association of Journalists, in condemning ŠOU’s withdrawal and supports Radio Študent’s calls for the provision of funding at least until 2022. This would enable a two-year…

Takeaways from webinar “Media councils in the digital age: how to regain trust and ethics in journalism”

After a successful year regarding the EU-supported Media Councils projects, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) hosted an online webinar on 11 January 2021 to talk about the achievements and the next phase. Three members of the European Parliament, Petra Kammerevert, Ramona Strugariu and Alexandra Geese, Deputy Head of Unit (DG Connect) Audrius Perkauskas and four consortium members discussed and exchanged respective insights and best practices. The EFJ is the coordinating partner bringing together several European press councils and two universities. Renate Schroeder, Director at the EFJ, moderated the event, which she kicked off by emphasising that self-regulation and press…