IPI Press Files Podcast Library

Podcast: What should be done against misogynistic abuse online…

Podcast: What should be done against misogynistic abuse online and by whom?

On International Women’s Day, IPI launched the latest episode of ‘The Press Freedom Files’ with special focus on solutions to address online harassment against women journalists.

IPI speaks with new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro and IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi about concrete actions several actors – from governments to the judiciary as well as news outlets – should adopt to combat one a growing threats to press freedom.

Both share the recommendations and suggestions contained in OSCE’s Resource Guide, launched late last year as part of the project Safety of Female Journalists Online (#SOFJO) and IPI’s Newsrooms Ontheline hub, a resource centre for journalists and media organisations that, among other resources, features a specific protocol for newsrooms and video tutorials for journalists to cope with the effects of online harassment.

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‘The Hungary model’: How Poland copied illiberal tactics for…

‘The Hungary model’: How Poland copied illiberal tactics for weakening independent media

Press freedom in Central Europe is under renewed threat. Yet there are no systematic arrests of journalists as in Belarus or Turkey. Less of the blatant acts of censorship common in Russia. Few of the gruesome killings of reporters that are common in autocratic countries around the world. IPI, as part of the MFRR, analyses the current crisis in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia and what the EU can do

For illiberal governments bound by the democratic architecture of the European Union, efforts to silence independent journalism and insulate the public from critical reporting have to be far more complex and, most importantly, calibrated to avoid direct rebuke from Brussels.

This steady erosion of press pluralism in Hungary would be worrying enough if it were not also empowering and inspiring other illiberal governments in EU member states to employ similar tactics.

In Poland the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has over the last five years engaged in a calculated cherry-picking exercise and selected elements of Hungary’s model that can be adapted to the Polish media landscape, according to a recent report by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR).

Last year the Slovenian government introduced proposed legislative changes which would financially weaken the public broadcaster, RTVSLO, leading to stark warnings about its finances and future.

Another proposed amendment would give the government greater opportunities to select the supervisors and dismiss the director of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), which has also come under fire from Janša. Most concerningly, the Government Communication Office (UKOM) suspended the financing of the STA twice in three months, in what the Slovenian Journalists’ Association said was another attempt to destabilize the press agency through financial pressure.

Ultimately, until the EU strengthens its ability to ensure this kind of divergence from the democratic values and principles has real consequences, the illiberal model for media capture and control remains a viable option for any EU leader wishing to solidify its control and remain in power.

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European Union must act on media freedom in Poland,…

European Union must act on media freedom in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia

Ahead of a major debate at the European Parliament on efforts by governments to silence free media, the MFRR were part of 18 organisations calling on the European Union to take decisive action to defend independent journalism and media freedom in Hungary, Poland and Slovenia.

Article 11 of the European Union’s Charter on Fundamental Rights is under threat as media freedom and media pluralism deteriorates alarmingly in Hungary and Poland.

Over the past decade, Fidesz has perfected the process of state capture of media. Through the misuse of legislative, regulatory and administrative tools it has muzzled critical media while building a vast array of government cheerleaders that dominate the national media landscape.

The failure of the EU to act has emboldened the Hungarian government and now Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government is cherry-picking elements of the Hungarian model to fit the Polish system.

The model of media capture is a subtle, complex and direct threat to the public’s right to know. It is carried out through indirect means or formally independent bodies, providing governments with plausible deniability when accused of dismantling of media freedom.

Yet the effects are clear. Independent journalism is under unprecedented threat as the two governments distort and reshape the media market to their advantage, with damaging implications for both media freedom and democracy in Europe.

Similar developments are also apparent in Slovenia where the SDS government is attacking public service media and stoking hostility towards critical journalists whilst backed up by a media operation with significant investments from Fidesz linked companies.

The EU has sat on the sidelines for too long. Repeated inaction to stop the undermining of media freedom and pluralism first in Hungary, and then in Poland, has allowed this model of media capture to grow and spread to other Member States. The cost of further inaction is simply too high. It is time for the European Commission to act.

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Podcast: Media freedom under renewed threat in Poland

Podcast: Media freedom under renewed threat in Poland

The 6th episode of the Press Freedom Files, produced by IPI, as part of the MFRR, explores the renewed threats to media freedom in Poland, where the Law and Justice party is waging a multipronged attack on independent and critical media  

Media freedom is under renewed threat in Poland, where the Law and Justice party is waging a multi-pronged attack on independent and critical media.

Recent developments are leading to growing concerns that the EU’s fifth most populous state is heading further down the path forged by Hungary and causing fresh headaches in Brussels on how to respond.

In the sixth episode of IPI’s podcast ‘The Press Freedom Files’, IPI Advocacy Officer Jamie Wiseman talks with guests Piotr Stasiński, deputy editor of Poland’s biggest daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, and Anna Woichik, a journalist at the investigative news outlet OKO.press.

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France: Investigation opened into attempted murder after attack on…

France: Investigation opened into attempted murder after attack on journalist

EFJ, as part of the MFRR, condemns the recent violent attack that has led to the hospitalisation of photographer for the regional daily L’Union, Christian Lantenois

A photographer for the regional daily L’Union, Christian Lantenois, was seriously injured on Saturday 27 February while covering tensions in the Croix-Rouge district of Reims. Lantenois is currently in the intensive care unit in Reims’ hospital in a serious condition. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) strongly condemn this despicable act. An investigation has been opened for attempted murder.

Christian Lantenois, 65 years old, went to Croix-Rouge on Saturday 27 February at around 3 pm in a car identifiable as belonging to the newspaper L’Union to cover the tensions in the district. The photographer was found shortly afterwards, in great distress on the ground near his car. The circumstances of the attack are not yet known.

Authorities in France have opened an investigation for attempted murder. The newspaper reported that the journalist’s condition is worrying but stable.

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European Commission must urgently address media market distortion in…

The European Commission must urgently address media market distortion in Hungary

MFRR partners, alongside other media freedom groups and associations have again urged the EU’s Competition Commissioner to swiftly address concerns over media market distortions in Hungary.

The group of 16 organisations note the continuing deterioration of media pluralism in Central Europe and renew their call to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager to open a prompt investigation into pending state aid complaints.

The Commission’s lack of enforcement of market rules in Hungary, the groups said, is not only allowing the situation there to worsen but now also empowering the deliberate distortion of the media market in Poland, with worrying implications for both media freedom and democracy.

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Austria: Plans to restrict media reporting on leaked judicial…

Austria: Plans to restrict media reporting on leaked judicial information threatens press freedom

IPI, as part of the MFRR, calls for plans in Austria to impose tough criminal penalties on journalists for quoting from leaked documents to be scrapped immediately

Controversial plans floated by the governing Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) that would impose tough criminal penalties on journalists for quoting from leaked documents should be scrapped immediately.

IPI state that if passed, the new rules would seriously undermine press freedom in Austria and hamper investigative journalism.

On February 24, 2021, the ÖVP party headed by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, suggested as part of a planned judicial reform that it was considering stricter criminal penalties for media which quoted or published leaked information from judicial investigations.

The ÖVP’s suggestion for tougher criminal penalties comes amidst media coverage of judicial investigations involving politicians, including Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, who is under investigation by the specialized public prosecutor’s office responsible for corruption-related crimes (WKStA).

Under current legislation, Austrian journalists are permitted to publish and cite information attained from leaks as long as it complies with provisions in the country’s media law regarding issues such as privacy protection.

After the plans were revealed, several leading journalists, the association of Austrian newspapers, journalist unions, academics and the Austrian Bar Association came out to vocally condemn the proposal.

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Malta: Conviction of first assassin is an important step…

Conviction of first assassin is an important step on road to full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia

IPI, as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response, welcomes sentencing and new indictments but warns of long fight for justice ahead

The International Press Institute (IPI), as part of the MFRR welcomed the first conviction for the 2017 murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as an important step forward in the path to full justice for her assassination.

IPI also welcomed the indictment of two individuals accused of supplying the bomb that killed her and expressed hope the developments would help bring the mastermind to justice.

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Serbia Prison sentence for arson attack on journalist Milan…

Serbia: Prison sentence for arson attack on journalist Milan Jovanovic

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) welcomes the verdict in the criminal case concerning the arson attack against Serbian journalist Milan Jovanovic, rendered on 23 February by the Second Basic Court in Belgrade.

In 2018, Serbian journalist Milan Jovanovic was the victim of an arson attack on his house in Belgrade after investigating cases of corruption of local public officials.

Judicial proceedings against the suspected arsonists started in 2019 and have since then been delayed numerous times after frequent requests of postponement advanced by the defense lawyers. These procedural tactics, which also include attempts to disqualify judges appointed to this case, have seriously delayed justice for Jovanovic.

On 23 February 2021, the court sentenced former Grocka mayor Dragoljub Simonovic to four years and three months of prison for having ordered the arson attack on Jovanovic’s house in December 2018. The court also sentenced Vladimir Mihailovic and Aleksandar Marinkovic in absentia to four years in jail. Mr Marinkovic was sentenced for perpetrating the arson attack; however, his whereabouts have been unknown since the start of proceedings. This sentence sets an important precedent for ensuring that those who commit crimes against journalists in Serbia – so often met with impunity – are brought to justice.

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Podcast: The up- and downside of new Austrian law…

The up- and downside of new Austrian law to regulate platforms and combat online abuse

This episode of the ‘The Press Freedom Files’ produced by IPI, as part of the MFRR, brings in expert analysis on Austria’s new law and it’s potential to address online harassment as well as risks for freedom of expression

The Austrian Communication Platforms Act took effect on January 1, 2021. It’s Austria’s attempt to protect public discourse by regulating the big social media platforms. The law is also part of a larger package of legal reforms in the country that aim at addressing online abuse.

IPI Head of Digital Communications Javier Luque talks to experts Daniela Kraus, Secretary General of the Presseclub Concordia, and journalist Ingrid Brodnig, who has authored several books on online harassment and disinformation, about the law’s potential benefits as well as potential pitfalls that could negatively impact the free dissemination of news and freedom of expression.