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MFRR partners write letter of concern to Albanian government…

MFRR partners write letter of concern to Albanian government regarding the plan to amend the country’s audio visual laws

Proposed amendments to Albania’s audio visual laws threaten to centralise power and ignore recommendations from the Venice Commission and Albanian civil society

MFRR partners, alongside leading media freedom organisations wrote to Chairperson of the Albanian Parliament, Gramoz Ruçi and Albanian parliamentarians to reiterate their serious concern that the amendments fall short of international law and standards.

As noted also by the Venice Commission, the legislative proposals suffer from vagueness and have a number of fundamental flaws that risk causing a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression online and restricting Albanian citizens’ right to access to information.

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Hungary’s last independent radio station could be forced off…

Hungary’s last independent radio station could be forced off airwaves

The European Union must take action to stop the accelerating elimination of press freedom in Hungary, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today after a government regulator rejected the license renewal of Hungary’s last independent radio broadcaster.

Hungary’s Media Council, which is controlled by Viktor Orbán’s FIDESZ party, rejected the renewal application of Klubrádió, meaning that the Budapest-based commercial talk and news radio station’s license will expire on February 14, 2021, potentially forcing it off the airwaves for good.

Justifying its ruling, the Media Council said that during the last seven years Klubradio had repeatedly violated Hungary’s Media Law. András Arató, chairman of the Board of Directors of Klubrádió, previously denied the station had committed violations that could result in its license extension rejected.

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ECPMF calls on Turkey drop the charges against journalist…

ECPMF calls on Turkey drop the charges against journalist Oktay Candemir and return his confiscated property

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, as part of  Media Freedom Rapid Response calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges against freelance journalist Oktay Candemir and to return his confiscated property in full and without delay.

On 7 September 2020, police in the eastern city of Van arrested Candemir, who writes columns for the pro-Kurdish news site Nupel. The next day, he was released after being charged with “insulting the memory of a dead person”, which carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment. As part of the conditions of his release, Candemir is banned from travelling abroad and must check in with police regularly. His computer and personal archive were confiscated.

The charges against Candemir relate to a satirical tweet, posted on his personal twitter account on 3 September, in which he mocked a historical drama series produced by state broadcaster, TRT. According to the authorities, the tweet insulted Sultan Ertuğrul Ghazi, who lived in the 13th century and was the father of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman dynasty.

Photo Credit: MLSA

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The COVID-19 crisis highlights Greece’s media problem

The COVID-19 crisis highlights Greece’s media problem

Part of IPI’s series, Europe media freedom in the shadow of Covidauthored by IPI correspondents across Europe

IPI correspondent, The Manifold interrogates the highly partisan way in which funds were distributed by the Greek government during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what this means for the dire state of media freedom across the country

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Poland’s TVP takes sides in presidential election

Poland’s TVP takes sides in presidential election

Part of IPI’s series, Europe media freedom in the shadow of Covidauthored by IPI correspondents across Europe

IPI correspondent, Annabelle Chapman explores the impact of the recent Polish election and how public broadcaster TVP continues to depart from public service mission amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Italian journalist beaten over reporting on alleged judicial corruption

Italian journalist beaten over reporting on alleged judicial corruption

As part of the MFRR, IPI calls for thorough investigation into brazen daylight attack on Michele Santagata

Authorities in Italy must conduct a thorough investigation into the death threats and brutal beating of journalist Michele Santagata in Cosenza and ensure his physical safety is guaranteed

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Convictions overturned and retrial ordered for murder of Serbian…

Convictions overturned and retrial ordered for murder of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija

Appeals court in Serbia revokes guilty sentences over flaws in initial verdicts

As part of the MFRR, the International Press Institute (IPI), expressed dismay after a court in Belgrade overturned the convictions of those found guilty of the 1999 murder of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija and ordered a retrial.

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MFRR condemns police violence against journalists during protests in…

Journalists detained, tear gassed covering protests in Bulgaria

MFRR partners, ECPMF and IPI condemn the violence against journalists and media workers covering anti-government protests by police officers

On 2 September 2020, people took to the streets of Sofia to protest against corruption and abuses of power, calling for the resignation of the government led by Boyko Borissov and of the country’s recently instated Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev. As seen in a number of other countries in Europe in 2020, the police used increasingly militarised tactics against the protestors.  According to numerous reports, police officers used excessive force against several journalists and media workers covering the protests, including the indiscriminate use of pepper spray, physical assault and unlawful detention.

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Investigative news outlet Declassified UK excluded by Ministry of…

Investigative news outlet Declassified UK excluded by Ministry of Defence

MFRR partner, IPI raises concerns to the UK Government that the exclusion of Declassified UK in apparent retaliation for critical reporting is a significant threat to media freedom

The International Press Institute (IPI) wrote to the UK Ministry of Defence and the Secretary of State for Defence about a recent decision by its press office to refuse comment to investigative news outlet Declassified UK.

IPI expressed concern that the sudden decision to exclude the publication from a MOD comment, and the subsequent lack of communication on the matter, appeared to have been taken in retaliation for its previous critical reporting and editorial stance, raising issues for press freedom.

The letter, signed by IPI’s Deputy Director Scott Griffen, sought clarification over whether Declassified UK had been placed on a list of outlets barred for receiving official communications and clarification over MOD policy on excluding certain outlets.

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Slovakia: A travesty of justice in the case of…

Slovakia: A travesty of justice in the case of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová as alleged masterminds are acquitted

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners today call for the fight for justice for Slovak investigative journalist, Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová to continue, after the Specialized Criminal Court in Pezinok returned a not-guilty verdict for alleged mastermind of their murder, Marian Kočner.

MFRR said the acquittals today of alleged mastermind and intermediary, Marian Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová marked a sad day for media freedom and the fight for an end to impunity for the murder of journalists in Europe. Going forward we welcome the appeal of the verdict to the Supreme Court and call for both investigators and prosecutors to reopen the case and work towards securing the direct evidence required for convicting those responsible.