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Montenegro: all charges must be dropped against investigative journalist…

Montenegro: All charges against investigative journalist Jovo Martinović must be dropped

Retrial of Jovo Martinović continues on 6 July – As part of the MFRR, ECPMF expresses renewed concern about situation of media freedom in Montenegro

A specialist in covering organised crime for leading international media, investigative journalist Jovo Martinović was convicted to an 18-month prison sentence by the High Court of Montenegro, on 15 January 2019 despite overwhelming evidence that his only links with organised crime were those of a reporter.

Throughout the detention and subsequent trial, his rights to a fair trial have been violated. Prior to his arrest on 22 October 2015, Martinović had already been held in custody for almost 15 months before being finally freed, provisionally. The retrial formally began on 2 Dec 2019, with a new hearing scheduled for Monday, 6 July 2020, 9 a.m. The retrial hearing takes place in the judges office and is open to public.

We think it is crucial to show public support and international solidarity for Jovo Martinović.

ECPMF, as part of the MFRR, calls on international and local bodies to attend the hearing on 6 July, and, even more importantly, the hearing of the closing statements.

ECPMF reiterates its call on Montenegrin authorities to acquit the investigative journalist and drop all charges against Martinović.

UPDATE 7 July 2020: as the fellow-defendant fell sick, the hearing was postponed to 15 September 2020.

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Bulgarian media owner is threatened with prison term for…

Bulgarian media owner is threatened with prison term for expressing opinion

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partner, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), is concerned about the ongoing legal harassment of Bulgarian media owner and businessman, Ivo Prokopiev and his media group Economedia, ahead of an expected court verdict on Sunday 28 June 2020.

Ivo Prokopiev, the owner of Economedia is currently on trial at the Specialized Criminal Court in Bulgaria in relation to the privatization of a minority stake in an energy company. He is accused of expressing his opinion in public and has been threatened with arrest by the lead case prosecutor.

Economedia publishes Capital weekly and Dnevnik.bg, both considered as independent and professional journalistic outlets in a media environment dominated by state-affiliated outlets and media companies. Their published investigations over the past decade had uncovered increasing corruption in Bulgaria and concerted efforts to silence independent voices in media and politics.

The statement calls on the Court to make their judgment independent of any political pressure or interference and local authorities to stop the ongoing institutional and legal harassment of Ivo Prokopiev and Economedia.

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Briefing to the UK Government on good practice to…

Protecting Journalists and Media Workers: Good Practice

The MFRR outlines good practice from EU Member States and Candidate Countries to protect journalists and media workers that can inform the UK Government’s work to establish the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists

In 2019, the UK Government announced plans to form the National Committee and Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists to “ensure that those who threaten journalists are held to account.” This committee will be the responsibility of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office.

To support and help shape the direction of this much needed initiative, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) here outlines examples of good practice from The Netherlands, Sweden, South East Europe (Including Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and North Macedonia), Serbia and Italy that can be incorporated into the committee’s approach to this complex topic to encourage greater collaboration and coordination to protect journalists and media workers across the UK. 

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Slovak journalist continuing investigative work of Ján Kuciak receives…

Slovak journalist continuing investigative work of Ján Kuciak receives bullet in mailbox

The MFRR welcomes swift investigation announced by Slovak authorities

Police in Slovakia must thoroughly investigate a possible death threat issued against an investigative reporter at Slovak online news outlet Aktuality.sk, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today.

On the morning of Thursday, June 25, Aktuality investigative journalist Peter Sabo awoke to find a pistol bullet in the mailbox of the Bratislava apartment where he lives with his wife, according to the outlet’s editor and media reports.

Aktuality is the online newspaper that Slovak investigative reporter Ján Kuciak worked for before he was shot and killed alongside his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, in 2018. The murder weapon was a pistol.

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IPI condemns beating of journalist and threats of violence…

The MFRR condemns beating of journalist and threats of violence during Serbian election

MFRR partner, the International Press Institute (IPI) calls for a swift investigation into threats made against journalists and media workers during the Serbian election.

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, condemned the beating of journalist Sasa Mikic and threats of violence against reporters and media workers covering parliamentary elections in Serbia.

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International organisations and journalist bodies express concern about legal…

Stop use of SLAPPs: International organisations and journalist bodies express concern about legal threats against EUobserver

MFRR partners, journalist bodies and free expression organisations stand in solidarity with EUobserver amid threats of legal action in Luxembourg and Belgium

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners, journalist bodies, free expression and journalist support organisations are concerned about the legal threats made against EUobserver in Luxembourg and Belgium and call to stop the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) actions across Europe.

Left unreformed, such legal threats will be sufficient to silence media workers and outlets. We stand in solidarity with EUobserver and will continue to monitor developments around the case.

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Latest Media Freedom Violations – June 2020

Europe: Latest Media Freedom Violations – June 2020

As lockdowns lift and COVID-19 related violations drop, spike in arrests and physical attacks on journalists covering protests in European states

This briefing note, prepared by the International Press Institute (IPI) provides an update of press freedom violations documented in Europe since mid-May. It follows previous briefings published in April and May, which focused solely on the emerging COVID-19 crisis. With documented cases linked to the pandemic dropping in Europe in the last few weeks, this latest briefing expands to focus on all forms of violations.

It also highlights key trends observed by members of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and presents key documents and reports from consortium members. It covers EU Members States, Candidate Countries and other European states

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Albania: public information becomes a casualty of COVID-19

Albania: public information becomes a casualty of COVID-19

MFRR partner, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) outlines how Albania has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and what that means for media freedom

COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of Albania’s public information laws. The monopolisation of communication on coronavirus has raised concerns over the government’s accountability on pandemic management, as well as media freedom for journalists and media workers across the country

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Press Cartoonists in Europe must be protected

Press Cartoonists in Europe must be protected

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners call for press cartoonists to be protected to ensure they can realise their right to free expression across Europe

In recent years, press cartoonists have come under increasing threat for their work scrutinising and satirising those in power. This statement signed by MFRR partners and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) and Cartooning for Peace calls on all cartoonists to be protected to ensure they can realise their rights to free expression

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Mariano Giustino: Journalist censored by Facebook

#MissingVoices – Mariano Giustino: Journalist censored by Facebook

Censorship by social media platforms reduces dialogue, shrinks public knowledge for everyone and prevents us all from holding those in power to account.

As part of the MFRR, ARTICLE 19 are leading the #MissingVoices campaign  to speak up for the missing voices by asking platforms for more transparency and the right to appeal decisions that stifle the right to freedom of expression.

Italian journalist Mariano Giustino has been reporting on Turkey, its politics and foreign relations, since 2004. Currently, he’s a correspondent for the Italian radio station, Radio Radicale where he hosts two weekly programs: Turkish Press Review and Turkish Diary. He also posts about Turkish politics and social issues on his personal Facebook page, which he sees as the equivalent of a newspaper for people interested in Turkey.