Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva wrongly charged with justifying terrorism

On 20 September 2019, Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva was formally charged with publicly justifying terrorism. The journalist was also asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a written undertaking not to leave the Pskov region. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Russian Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU) are convinced of her complete innocence and call on Russian authorities to release her without any delay. Svetlana Prokopieva works for the local branch of the independent Moscow-based radio station Ekho Moskvy, in the northwestern city of Pskov. She was suspected of “justifying terrorism” following a radio commentary, on 7…

EFJ mourns sudden death of devoted union colleague and journalist

Sadness and dismay prevail in the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today after the sudden death of the chair of the EFJ’s Labour Expert Group, Rainer Reichert, in Brussels. “For decades, he has rendered outstanding services to journalism in both Germany and Europe,” said EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, paying tribute to the deceased. “Rainer was so committed to fighting for better working conditions of journalists throughout Europe. With his legal expertise and knowledge of many languages, he always volunteered to help improve the interests of journalists, be it in the Balkans, in Italy or anywhere in Europe. His death…

“Good journalism has its price” say German unions during nationwide strike in public service media

Both German affiliates, the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV) and the Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju in ver.di) started on Wednesday 18 an unprecedented trade union action (warning strikes) at the ARD stations in several German Länder. Around 3000 employees of the German public service media are taking part nationwide. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) sent a strong message of solidarity to striking media workers. The reason is the upcoming collective bargaining round, in which an agreement between the positions of the management and the unions seems a long way off. “Today’s strikes, demonstrations and actions are so far unique in…

The EFJ will join the global climate strike this Friday

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will join the global climate strike this Friday in Brussels to put pressure on world leaders to deliver urgent solutions to the worsening climate crisis. Demonstrations will take place around the world between September 20 and 27 to coincide with the United Nation’s climate summit in New York, where heads of governments must take concrete action to deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement. That includes the commitment to a “just transition” – moving to a carbon neutral economy in a way that’s fair to people working in industries that will be required to…

Silence Hate: Young journalists published creative and innovative stories on migration

The #SilenceHate project kicked-off more than a year and a half ago, in April 2018, with a five-day ‘Media Camp’ in London. Thirteen young journalists were trained in the intricacies of how hate speech is used to target migrants, and what journalists can do to counter it. They went back to their home countries (Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Poland and United Kingdom) with the objective to report and produced the stories that they pitched. Here are the journalists’ productions offering different formats such as photography, podcasts, videos, features, long form, and having a creative and innovative perspective of the migration…

Ukrainian court rules to block access to 17 online media

On 23 July, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv (Ukraine) ruled to block access to 17 online media, including news portals and bloggers platforms korrespondent.net, enigma.ua, trident-ua.info, and informator.news. The owners of the closed websites have lodged an appeal. Their lawyers have denounced the delaying tactics that have so far prevented the appeal court from ruling. The court justified the closure of these news websites by the fact that they disseminate texts relating to slander or defamation. The judgment requires to restrict access not only to potentially harmful material, but to the entire content of these website. The National Union…

Open letter to new Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Along with 21 other organisations, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) co-signed an open letter sent to the new Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, who is starting her five-year term of office on 18 September 2019. Dear Secretary-General, On behalf of the undersigned organisations, we warmly congratulate you on your appointment as the new Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. We are motivated by our experience and understanding of the worsening of the environment for journalists and free expression across Europe to ask you to make sure that your commitment to democracy, the rule of…

Croatia: Journalist arrested and fined for satirical tweets

Gordan Duhacek, a reporter for Index.hr, was arrested by Zagreb police at the airport when he was about to take a business flight on 16 September. Duhacek was eventually released and found guilty of insulting the police in one post on his Twitter feed, was charged with a symbolic fine of 100 euros, and has been prosecuted for another tweet under the base of an article of the Law on Offences against Public Order and Peace. The verdict of this last post would be delivered on Thursday. The journalist denounces that he was sprayed with tear gas on the floor and…

European Parliament: EFJ welcomes new mandate of Monitoring Group on democracy and rule of law

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed on 17 September the new mandate of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) working group, renamed “Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group”. Chaired by the Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld (Renew Europe), the LIBE group will focus on threats to democracy, fight against corruption, rule of law and fundamental rights in the European Union. The group was first set up in June 2018 in the aftermath of the murders of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak. The LIBE committee report, published in November 2018 following…

Mission to Turkey: press freedom remains in crisis

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined seven other organisations on a joint mission to Turkey, led by the International Press Institute (IPI). Despite some glimmers of hope, press freedom in the country remains in crisis. International press freedom groups and professional organisations reported today that press freedom and the rule of law in Turkey remain in crisis despite grounds for very cautious optimism, such as yesterday’s ruling releasing several former Cumhuriyet journalists. Over three days this week, the international press freedom delegation held meetings with journalists, civil society, the judiciary and the authorities to assess planned reforms and the…

Georgia: journalists’ resignations at Rustavi 2 TV reveal alarming decline in media freedom

Georgian main opposition TV channel Rustavi 2 faced mass resignations after the new management has fired several prominent journalists and producers in early September. The Independent Association of Georgian Journalists (IAGJ) warns against a clear attempt at political control over the media in Georgia and denounces the inaction of the international community to improve media pluralism in the country. Rustavi 2 is one of the most watched TV channels in Georgia and was once known as the main opposition television company, close to the United National Movement party. Since the new shareholder Kibar Khalvashi named his lawyer Paata Salia as…