European Federation of Journalists

Media Freedom Rapid Response

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a partner of Media Freedom Rapid Response project (MFRR) aiming to promote an independent, pluralistic media landscape, to safeguard media workers, especially harassed female media workers and to protect the rights of journalists. The RRM helps to mitigate the consequences of the recently observed deterioration of media freedom in several European Union, Member States and Candidate Countries.

Overall Objective

The overall objective of this project is to provide practical support for journalists to improve media freedom in Europe.

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is designed to detect, answer and prevent violations of press and media freedom. It consists of three layers: monitoring, categorisation, responses.

Specific objectives

1. Mapping Media Freedom (MMF) in Europe (EU & Candidate Countries): Media violations are on the rise especially under the current coronavirus crisis. One of the key components of the project is to monitor and document a wide range of media violations conducted by any actors, whether individuals, state actors or business, so that actions can be taken rapidly to address the violations.

2. Practical supports: Based on the media violations reported, the project offers a wide range of immediate to long-term, practical support ranging from legal help, safety advice and training, safe house for journalists, advocacy and mission, and online resources. You could find more information about the legal support here and more details about safe house for journalists here.

3. Advocacy & Trial Monitoring: Joint media advocacy will also be carried out by the project including joint statements, national missions (in Czech Republic, Hungry, Spain, Serbia), roundtable advocacy meetings with EU policy-makers. The EFJ will involve the relevant national members when carrying out such national missions. Trial Monitoring especially for Turkey, Malta (for the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia) and Slovakia (for the case of Ján Kuciak) will be carried out and participated by the project partners to help find justice for journalists who are put in jails or murdered.

Anyone can submit and report a media violation to the MMF platform online.

Actions

Germany: Exiled Turkish journalist attacked in the yard of his home in Berlin

On 7 July, exiled Turkish journalist Erk Acarer was attacked with “fists and knives” in the courtyard of his apartment building in Berlin. Acarer has lived in German exile since 2017 because of his critical reporting of the Turkish government. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its German affiliates, the German Journalists Association (DJV) and the German Journalists Union (dju in ver.di), as well as its Turkish affiliates in strongly condemning this aggression. The attack took place on Wednesday night in the Berlin district of Neukölln, where three assailants beat him with their fists and knives in his yard. The journalists reported…

Slovenian government eroding media freedom as it takes over EU Presidency

The Slovenian government of Prime Minister Janez Janša is overseeing an increasingly systematic effort to undermine critical media, a coalition of press freedom organisations and journalism groups warn today in a new report. The report concludes that Slovenia, which assumes the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, has seen press freedom deteriorate ever since Janša returned to power in March 2020. Since then, the ruling SDS party has embarked on a multipronged campaign to reshape the media landscape in favour of a pro-government narrative, renewing tactics successful during previous administrations and forging ahead with new forms of pressure.…

Italy: Defamation law must be reformed

A year after the Constitutional Court ruled on the unconstitutionality of prison sentences in cases of defamation through the press, on 22 June 2021 the Court issued a follow-up decision declaring art. 13 of Law 47/1948 (Press Law) not compliant with the Constitution. The Court has however declared art. 595(3) of the Penal Code, which provides for a sentence between six months and three years of prison or the payment of a fine, compliant with the Constitution, as it allows the judge to order the imprisonment only in cases of “exceptional severity”. In June 2020, the Constitutional Court invited the Italian…

Germany’s Federal Constitutional Protection Act removed protection for journalists

On 10 June 2021, the German Bundestag approved amendments to the Federal Constitutional Protection Act, removing legal provisions that exempted journalists from surveillance and hacking during terrorism investigations. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its German affiliates, Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV) and Deutsche Journalistinnen und Journalisten Union (dju) in ver.di in criticising the Act as an infringement of journalists’ fundamental rights and a threat to the anonymity of whistleblowers. Under the law, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the federal police will be given more powers to secretly monitor online activity and encrypted communications, such…

Slovakia: Supreme Court overturned not guilty verdicts in Ján Kuciak murder case

Today, on 15 June, the Slovak Supreme Court ruled on the appeal brought by prosecutors against last summer’s not guilty verdict in the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to remand the case back for a retrial and expects careful examination of all evidence in the case and to finally end impunity. Last summer, the controversial businessman Marian Kočner and a confidante, Alena Zsuzsová, were acquitted of ordering Kuciak’s murder in February 2018. The Specialized Criminal Court in Pezinok, Slovakia, found that there was not enough…

Slovakia Supreme Court hearing is crucial test in battle against impunity

Today, June 15, the Slovak Supreme Court is expected to rule on the appeal brought by prosecutors against last summer’s not guilty verdict in the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and ARTICLE 19, as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) urge the Supreme Court to carefully and exhaustively examine all available evidence in the case. IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen will attend the hearing in Bratislava on behalf of IPI and the MFRR. Controversial businessman…