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20 February 2015

Charlie Hebdo: Free speech under attack

Wednesday, 7 January 2015 is the darkest day in journalism in Europe. The brutal attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris was an attack on all of us. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, friends and colleagues. It is hard to believe that such a horror could happen in Europe.

The attack confirms that we must continue to safeguard and defend freedom of expression and press freedom as the fundamental pillars of our democracy.

During the “freedom march” on Sunday 11 January, we were surprised to see high-level officials from both Turkey and Russia where journalists are seen as enemies of the state and put behind bars. Among those world leaders who participated in the march on Sunday, they should learn the lesson from this tragic event and re-think their policy on anti-terrorism. Civil society and international institutions like the UNESCO, Council of Europe and the European Union should pressure these world leaders to safeguard press freedom in their own countries. (read the full editorial)
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård
EFJ President

EFJ Annual Meeting 2015 in Montenegro

The EFJ Annual Meeting will be held in Budva, Montenegro by its affiliate, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM), on 2 June 2016. More information will be sent to affiliates in the coming weeks. Save the date!

Macedonia: Free Tomislav Kezarovski

(20.01.2015) Around 3,000 demonstrators gathered in Skopje to denounce the two year jail sentence that the Macedonian Court had given to investigative journalist Tomislav Kezarovski.

Kezarovski, an investigative journalist at the daily Nova Makedonija, has been in detention and then under house arrest since 28 May 2013 for an article he wrote in 2008 for Reporter 92 magazine

The EFJ and its affiliates in Macedonia (SSNM and ZNM) have denounced the verdict and called on the authority to release Kezarovski immediately.

What can you do to help free Kezarovski ?

  • You can help free Kezarovski by putting pressure on the Macedonian government. Send a petition letter to the Embassy of Macedonia in your country calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
  • Publicise Kezarovski’s case in your union magazines and encourage your member to do so in their publications to raise awareness and gather support.
(Picture credit: Robert Atanasovski)

Tips and tricks for journalists to evade surveillance

(22.01.2015) Journalists face an increasing challenge to secure their communications in a digital world. The protection of confidential source can be easily compromised in a world where surveillance is becoming ubiquitous. Can journalists secure their communications and protect their sources?

To address the issue, the EFJ and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) has organised a four-day workship starting from 19 to 21 January in Brussels on “Cyber security for journalists”. Run by digital security expert, Dmitri Vitaliev, twenty-one journalists and union officers are given a hand-on approach to protect their communications in a fast-pace digital newsroom. Journalists were also taught how to bypass internet censorship and secure their online communications.

You can find out a series of practical tips on our website. The EFJ encourages affiliates to circulate this information to its members or publicise it on their websites and union's magazines. If you wish more information or advice on this, please contact Yuk Lan Wong.

Europe needs more media pluralism

(25.01.2015) The application of the “Media Pluralism Monitor 2014″, developped by the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF) at the Florence European University Institute, demonstrates that there are various risks for media pluralism across nine selected countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom). The results of the study are clear: “Every country has a specific weakness that creates high scores, meaning high risk”. Read the full report HERE.


EFJ told EU Enlargement Commissioner “Media censorship is a reality in Serbia”

The EFJ has told Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation that media censorship is a reality in Serbia following his controversial remark made on 15 February in a media briefing prior to his visit to Skopje this week. In a letter sent to Commissioner Hahn, the EFJ expressed its concerns over the lack of awareness concerning media violations in Serbia among EU institutions and policy-makers. (Read more)

Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly warns over Europe’s press freedom

(29.01.2015) The EFJ welcomed the adoption of a report on the Protection of Media Freedom in Europe by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) but warns about the worrying trends on press freedom in Europe.

The two-hour debate before the formal adoption was the occasion for many of the 300 voting members of the PACE to make their comments and remarks. Discussion concerned in particular Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Hungary, where cases of press freedom violation were debated and even challenged by various speakers. The discussion concluded that press freedom is yet to be made reality in many countries represented at the PACE. You can read more on our website on the interview with the rapporteur of the report Mr. Gvozden Srećko Flego.
(Picture credit:Marc Gruber / EFJ)

Parliament condemns Turkish repressive measures against journalists

(29.01.2015) The EFJ welcomed the adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on freedom of expression in Turkey. The resolution adopted (551 votes in favour, 11 against and 31 abstentions) by members of the European Parliament (MEP) condemned the police raids on 14 December 2014 against Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV and the detention of a number of journalists and media representatives in Turkey. (Photo Copyright : © European Union 2015 – EP) (Read more)

EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency

(27.01.2015) A new research published shows that too many major lobby organisations are not listed in the lobby transparency register despite being active in EU lobbying.

The research by ALTER-EU, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation, (in which the European Federation of Journalists is a member) argues that the current voluntary approach to lobby regulation does not give an accurate picture of lobbying in Brussels, and the Commission’s proposal for an inter-institutional agreement will not be the solution as it will not be binding on lobbyists. (Read more)
TTIP: EFJ complains to the EU Ombudsman

(20.01.2015)  The EFJ,  ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, and the Corporate Europe Observatory jointly submitted a complaint to the EU Ombudsman regarding maladministration by the European Commission in relation to access to documents relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This complaint relates specifically to the failure by the European Commission to grant access to the Complainants to a number of TTIP-related documents. Read the full-text of our complaint HERE.
(Picture credit: Thierry Charlier / AFP)

Kati Piri: “The biggest threat to journalism comes from those in power”

(29.01.2015) The EFJ attended the conference â€œJe suis Charlie-Media Freedom in the EU and South Eastern Europe” at the European Parliament. Hosted by Ulrike LUNACEK, Vice-President of the European Parliament, Green Party, in cooperation with the Italian based Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso (OBC) the meeting discussed threats on media freedom and highlighted that powerful figures and politicians pose the biggest threats to independent journalism. (Read more)
(Picture credit: EFJ)

Journalist Sergei Reznik sentenced to three years for defamation

(22.01.2015) The EFJ outraged by the ruling by the Russian court to sentence journalist and blogger Sergei Reznik to prison for an addition of three years. Reznik was found guilty of false accusation and insulting public officials (the police and the local deputy prosecutor). On 26 November 2013, Sergei Reznic was sentenced to 18 months of prison. Having served his first sentence, he was banned for working as a journalist for a year. Sergei Reznik is well known for his journalistic investigations about the activities of the Rostov Governor Vasily Golubev and local law enforcement agencies. The IFJ, the EFJ and the RUJ strongly denounce the conviction of Sergei Reznik. (Read more)


Journalists continue to face arrests

Turkey remains to be a continuous concern with new arrests of journalists. Two Dutch-Turkish journalists, Fréderike Geerdink and Mehmet Ülgur, were arrested in January with terrorism charges. Although both journalists were released after international outcry, critical voices remain to be oppressed and challenged in Turkey. Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the authorities attempted to censor newspaper Cumhuriyet from re-publishing Charlie Hedbo’s cartoon on prophet Mohammed.

on 29 - 30 January, Barry White, member of EFJ Steering Committee attended the trial against journalists Can Dündar (Cumhuriyet), Utku Çakirözer (Cumhuriyet), Hakan Gülseven (Yurt) and Nazli Ilicak (Bugün) and to showed solidarity with the journalists.

US Congress members urge Kerry to press Turkey on media freedom
Press trials in Turkey
Turkey: disproportionate measures against Dutch journalist
Turkey censors Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Dutch journalist arrested in Turkey for “Twitter terrorism”


EU copyright reform needs to address fairness in creative sector

(07.01.2015) The EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, told EU policy-makers to address the unfair contractual practices in the media and creative sectors in a meeting organised by the European Parliament working group on intellectual property rights and copyright reform in Strasburg.

Addressing members of the working group, Blicher Bjerregård says, “The biggest challenge facing journalists today is the unfair contractual practices that deprived the right of journalists from receiving fair payment for their work. (Read the full speech)
(Picture credit: Bernard Rondeau © Photo Sociale)
(Picture credit :Bernard Rondeau © Photo Sociale)

“Mainstream media must not spread hate speech” (19.01.2015)
After Charlie: against terror, journalists must redouble their commitment (22.01.2015)
Charlie Hebdo: Free speech under attack (15.01.2015)
#JESUISCHARLIE: To Publish or Not To Publish, That is the Question (15.01.2015)
Charlie Hebdo Solidarity : Call for Donation (13.01.2015)
Freedom march requires an urgent political response (13.01.2015)
#JeSuisCharlie photos, videos and tributes: journalists stand in solidarity (08.01.2015)
Charlie Hebdo in Paris, IFJ and EFJ in Solidarity with French Journalists (08.01.2015)


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Yuk Lan Wong, Renate Schroeder
Mehmet Koksal
, Gauvain Dos Santo