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Growing hostility leads to attacks on RTV journalists in…

Growing hostility leads to attacks on RTV journalists in Slovenia

IPI calls on government of Janez Janša to lead the way in reducing insults and threats.

The International Press Institute (IPI) expressed its growing concern about the increasing climate of hostility towards journalists and executives at Slovenia’s public broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTVS). Its statement highlights recent attacks and incidents of harassment and calls on the members of the new government led by Prime Minister Janez Janša to stop its efforts to undermine the integrity, independence and public trust in Slovenia’s public broadcaster, and instead work to defuse tensions.

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MFRR call on the UK Government to act in…

Declining media freedom in the UK

MFRR partners sent this letter to UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson raising their concerns regarding the decline in press freedom in the UK and attempts of the UK Government to restrict media scrutiny of its policies and discredit critical reporting.

An independent media is vital to hold governments to account, inform the public and share information that strengthens civic debate and the recent actions to restrict access, discredit critical journalism and isolate journalists and media workers highlights a number of distinct threats to the state of press freedom in the UK

UPDATE: On 27th July, the MFRR received a letter from the Direct Communications Unit at 10 Downing Street in relation to the open letter sent on 29th May. Read the UK Government’s response below

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Threats against journalists in Northern Ireland must stop

Threats against journalists in Northern Ireland must stop

A number of journalists from Sunday World and Sunday Life were warned of credible threats from dissident loyalists, which included threats of violence against their colleagues and a threat of a car bomb.

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners, press freedom and freedom of expression organisations, journalists’ organisations, journalists and media workers condemn these threats, call for those behind the threats to be brought to justice and increased protections for the journalists to be able to continue their work free from threats of violence.

UPDATE: On 9th June 2020, the MFRR received a response from Naomi Long MLA, the Minister of Justice in the Northern Ireland Executive. Read her response below

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Briefing: Latest Media Freedom Violations in Europe during COVID-19

Briefing: Latest Media Freedom Violations in Europe during COVID-19

Several arrests of journalists covering anti-lockdown protests documented in European states

by IPI

Key trends

Arrests and attacks on journalists covering anti-government protests during Covid-19

Across Europe, several journalists have been arrested, detained or charged by police in recent weeks as they were reporting on anti-government/anti-lockdown protests in their countries. On each occasion, the media workers were detained for breaching lockdown and social distancing measures. All were simply there to do their job and report events of public interest for their respective media outlets.

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IPI urges inquiry into arrest of investigative journalist in…

IPI urges inquiry into arrest of investigative journalist in Bulgaria

Calls for scrutiny following claims drug charges were fabricated

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today urged Bulgarian authorities to investigate the arrest of Bulgarian freelance journalist Dimiter Petzov following claims the arrest was staged to intimidate him.

Petzov, an award-winning investigative journalist focusing on local corruption in Bulgaria, was arrested on May 2 on charges of illegal drug possession. He was detained for 24 hours after local police officers allegedly found 11.7 grams of ecstasy, 7.2 grams of heroin, 13 grams of amphetamine and 7.2 grams of cannabis in his car, according to news reports.

Petzov has questioned the legitimacy of his arrest and accused the local authorities of framing him. In an interview for dnevnik.bg on May 6, he claimed that his arrest was baseless, carried out without presence of witnesses, and added that he suspected it was related to a story he had previously written. He also denied having obtained drugs or suffering from an addiction.

In 2017, Petzov was awarded the Golden Key award for his contribution to freedom of information. He has also been an associate of the Anti-Corruption Fund in Bulgaria for two years.

Intimidation and interference with the work of independent and investigative journalists is not uncommon in Bulgaria. According to an IPI analysis published earlier this year, critical journalists in Bulgaria have faced legal harassment and smear campaigns in retaliation for their work. In March, IPI reported on the case of a newspaper editor left unconscious after being beaten with metal pipes. In 2018, Petzov himself suffered a broken arm when he attacked at his home by an unknown man armed with a metal pipe.

“We urge Bulgarian authorities to clarify the circumstances related to the arrest of Dimiter Petzov through a speedy and transparent investigation”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Should the investigation confirm fears that his arrest was staged or manipulated, those responsible must be held to account. The harassment of investigative journalists represents a serious attack on the public’s right to information.”

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Journalists and media workers need to be protected when…

Protect journalists and media workers at protests and demonstrations

MFRR partners share a statement condemning the threats and attacks against journalists and media workers when covering demonstrations and protests in Germany, France, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Poland and Italy. The MFRR calls for increased protection for media freedom across Europe from protestors, unknown 3rd parties and police officers to ensure they are free to continue their work informing the public.

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Analysing the impact to media freedom of the COVID-19…

Analysing the impact to media freedom of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The briefing paper, Media Freedom Violations in the EU under COVID-19, drafted by IPI, as part of the MFRR, shows how in a short space of time, several states have implemented emergency laws and restrictions which challenge the ability of journalists to inform the public and hold those in power to account. Read more “Analysing the impact to media freedom of the COVID-19 Pandemic”

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IPI condemns arrest of journalist covering protest in Montenegro

IPI condemns arrest of journalist covering protest in Montenegro

Authorities must ensure journalists are able to cover protests safely

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the detention of Montenegrin journalist Veliša Kadić and called on authorities to ensure media workers can cover protests freely and securely. 

Kadić, a correspondent for the Serbian media company Večernje Novosti, was detained while covering protests in the city of Nikšić that occurred on May 13 in response to the arrest of a priest belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

After being released from custody, the journalist told media he was detained while taking a cellphone video of police officers trying to restrain a young man participating in protest who was resisting arrest.

Kadić claims officers from the Montenegrin police force demanded he delete the video footage and then pepper sprayed him in the face before arresting him. During the incident, Kadić was identified as a journalist there in his professional capacity.

He was taken to a police station but required an ambulance to be called for medical assistance due to the pain from the pepper spray. Kadić was held for several hours before being released later that night.

“This is a harsh violation and censorship of journalist’s work, which is, unfortunately, only an extension of brutal behavior of public authorities towards journalists and media freedom in this country”, Milka Tadić Mijović, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Montenegro, told IPI.

The head of the Nikšić Security Center, Tihomir Goranović, said he was aware of the case and confirmed police were investigating the circumstances of the arrest and the officers involved.

The arrest exemplifies a wider trend exhibiting increased use of violence against journalists covering protests in Europe in the last few months.

“The arrest of Veliša Kadić in Montenegro is greatly concerning, especially at a moment in which we are witnessing similar incidents happening all across Europe”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “We call on authorities in Montenegro to ensure that all journalists and media workers are able to work freely and inform the public about protests or demonstrations without fear of attack or detention.”

The Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) also condemned the arrest and called for action to be taken against the officers involved. 

Dozens of people were arrested as police attempted to break up the demonstration, according to Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti. Twenty-two police officers were also injured.

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Misuse of Corona crisis to silence journalism in europe

Misuse of Corona crisis to silence journalism in europe

No Lockdown for Press Freedom! Virtual talk illustrates effects of Covid-19 measures across Europe

Defying the restrictions to press freedom imposed by the corona virus pandemic, an online webinar succeeded in amplifying the voices calling for protection for media in the crisis. On the occasion of 2020 World Press Freedom Day, the partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) hold a virtual discussion on how to counter the abusive strategies used by governments to limit press freedom in the current Coronavirus pandemic, organised by ECPMF. Like an isolation orchestra with each musician playing alone in a bedroom or balcony, the event achieved a harmonious consensus: something must be done.