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Report Launch: Bosnia and Herzegovina: Media Freedom in Survival…

Report Launch: Bosnia and Herzegovina: Media Freedom in Survival Mode

Today the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) launch their report from a recent international press freedom fact-finding mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

In its report published in November 2023, the European Commission expressed concerns about the key priority of freedom of expression, freedom of the media, as well as the protection of journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It points out a “backsliding” in media freedom, noting that legislative and political pressure have increased and intimidation and harassment towards journalists continued without appropriate institutional follow-up.

 

The international press freedom mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2023 broadly confirmed these observations. Overall, journalists in the country continue to operate in a suffocating environment and poor working conditions. The situation is particularly alarming in Republika Srpska (RS), Bosnia’s Serb entity, where President Milorad Dodik is steadily tightening the screws on independent media, using hostile rhetoric to denigrate journalists and stigmatise critical reporting.

 

What prompted the mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina was the reintroduction of criminal penalties for defamation in August 2023 in Republika Srpska, which caused an outcry among media freedom and journalists’ organisations. More problematic legislation was discussed in RS around the same time, including the so-called “foreign agent” law and a media law, although the content of the latter is yet to be revealed.

 

Meanwhile in the Sarajevo canton, a proposal of a regulation that would allow sanctions for the dissemination of “fake news” is currently pending. The ongoing financial crisis in the country’s public service broadcasters was also closely scrutinised.

 

These issues were discussed in detail with the MFRR partners and the different stakeholders met during the delegation’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This report presents the main findings of the mission in three key areas: the legislative initiatives, the safety of journalists, and the
public service media. It then outlines a set of recommendations to national and entity level authorities and the international community.

 

The mission was composed of ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the International Press Institute (IPI), the Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), as well as South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and was supported by the journalists’ association BH Journalist Association. The delegation started its visit in Banja Luka on 22-23 October 2023 before travelling to Sarajevo on 23-24 October.

This mission was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. 

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Library

Turkey: Press freedom crisis deepens amid earthquake and national…

Turkey: Press freedom crisis deepens amid earthquake and national elections

The partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today publish the findings of an international press freedom mission to Turkey in a report titled “Press freedom crisis deepens amid earthquake and national elections”.

The report, which details the findings of an international press freedom mission to Turkey in October 2023, focuses on the challenges facing independent and critical journalism in Turkey in 2023, a year marked by the tragic February earthquakes and the parliamentary and presidential elections in May.

 

The mission included meetings with editors, journalists, local civil society groups, Constitutional Court officials, broadcast regulator Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) members, and representatives of opposition political parties. The mission was convened by the International Press Institute (IPI) and was joined by representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

This mission report was coordinated as part of IPI’s #FreeTurkeyJournalists campaign and in cooperation with Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners. The MFRR is a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors, and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries.

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Library

Report Launch – Relocation of Journalists in Distress in…

Relocation of Journalists in Distress in the European Union

Today, the partner organisations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) launch their report “Relocation of journalists in distress in the European Union: Emergency visa mechanisms in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland.”

Uncovering the truth is dangerous and can put journalists and media workers at serious risk. When a journalist finds him- or herself in danger because someone wants to keep the public in the dark, a situation can occur where the only way to safety is to seek refuge in another country. However, restrictive asylum and visa policies all too often hamper the pathways to international protection.

 

In this light, the latest MFRR report aims to contribute to a better understanding of six pioneering relocation mechanisms for journalists in distress within the European Union. It reflects the learnings of a thematic fact-finding mission organised in May and June 2023 by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) as part of the MFRR. The report examines existing schemes in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland, revealing salient differences and similarities in the scope and features of the responses.

This report was coordinated by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. 

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Library

Media freedom at a crossroads: Journalism in Poland faces…

Media freedom at a crossroads: Journalism in Poland faces uncertain future ahead of election

The Media Freedom Rapid Response today issued its report “Media Freedom at a crossroads: Journalism in Poland faces uncertain future ahead of election” following its mission to Warsaw on 11 – 13 September. 

The report explores how media capture and the widespread use of vexatious lawsuits have been used to create a hostile climate for independent journalism that weakens media’s ability to contribute to free and fair elections.  

Key findings include: 

  • The public media have been fully converted into a propaganda arm of the ruling party.
  • The National Broadcasting Council, KRRiT, has abused its licensing powers to create business uncertainty and is applying arbitrary financial penalties to impose fear and self-censorship in newsrooms.
  • Media pluralism was compromised when, in 2021, the state-controlled oil company, PKN Orlen, took over the largest regional media company, Polska Press. The subsequent editorial purge and shift in editorial lines to favour the ruling party ahead of upcoming elections makes it one of the most flagrant examples of media capture in Europe.
  • State advertising has been weaponised by the government to fund favourable media outlets and undermine independent journalism which exacerbates the financial pressure on media.
  • Polish media are subjected to one of the largest number of vexatious lawsuits, or SLAPPs, in the European Union. Most are initiated by ruling party politicians, state companies, and public institutions and therefore financed by public money.
  • While Polish media have proved resilient thanks to the presence of foreign owners, the hostile economic climate may force many to withdraw. Such a move is likely to have a devastating impact on media pluralism.
  • The overwhelming majority of commentators met by the mission expressed deep concern that the country was at a crossroads and that four more years of the current policy would accelerate media capture and push Poland down the path to emulating the media environment in Hungary, Turkey, or Russia.

The mission was organised by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). The delegation comprised of representatives of ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), and International Press Institute (IPI). The mission took place in Warsaw between 11 – 13 September and met with a wide range of editors, journalists, regulators, civil society groups, lawyers, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Ministry of Culture. 

A Polish language translation of the report will be published shortly.

Press contacts

ENG: Jordan Higgins (jordan.higgins@ecpmf.eu)

POL: Katia Mierzejewska (katiamierzejewska@article19.org)

This mission report was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. 

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Library

Report Launch: Relocation of journalists in distress in the…

Report Launch: Relocation of journalists in distress in the European Union

Uncovering the truth is dangerous and can put journalists and media workers at serious risk. When a journalist finds him- or herself in danger because someone wants to keep the public in the dark, a situation can occur where the only way to safety is to seek refuge in another country. However, restrictive asylum and visa policies all too often hamper the pathways to international protection.

On October 9th 10:30-11:30 CEST, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) will present the findings of a thematic fact-finding mission organised earlier this year, which aims to contribute to a better understanding of six pioneering relocation mechanisms for journalists in distress within the European Union. For this purpose, the MFRR partners examined existing schemes in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland, revealing salient differences and similarities in the scope and features of the responses.

Join us at the Czech Permanent Representation in Brussels or online for the report launch. The Czech mission to Brussels will host the conference. The Deputy Head of the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee Ambassador Jitka Látal Znamenáčková will open the presentation. Professor Can Yeğinsu will then discuss the idea of emergency visa for journalists, which he developed as part of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts of the Media Freedom Coalition. Further, in a panel discussion, a journalist in exile will discuss their situation and path to obtain the emergency visa in an EU Member State. Lastly, the report’s authors will present key findings, conclusions and recommendations, and there will be time for a Q&A session.

This mission was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries.

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Media capture Slovakia Library

Slovakia: A story of fragile pluralism, media resilience and…

Slovakia: A story of fragile pluralism, media resilience and the struggle against corruption

As part of the MFRR, the International Press Institute (IPI) today published the new report ‘Media Capture in Slovakia: A story of fragile pluralism, media resilience and the struggle against corruption’.

The report, authored by Peter Hanák, explores the extent of media capture in Slovakia.

Overall, the report finds that media pluralism remains relatively strong compared with Slovakia’s neighbours in the Visegrád region.  While the power of media oligarchs in the country remains problematic, there is a resilient independent media sector.

Nevertheless, a number of challenges exist that require both vigilance and reforms. Examples of the instrumentalization of media abound in particular as politicians and oligarchs have used media over which they have influence to discredit critical journalism and undermine efforts to prosecute the high levels of corruption exposed following the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, in 2018.

Though the public broadcaster, RTV Slovakia, currently enjoys relatively low levels of political pressure, it has a history of vulnerability to political interference and securing its stability and independence should be a priority. The failure of the government to depoliticize the appointments process and to finalise reforms over its financing leaves it highly vulnerable to political capture in the future.

Media regulators, while enjoying a level of relative pluralism in part due to Slovakia’s fragmented political landscape, still suffer from a political  appointments process that affects the perceived levels of impartiality and professionalism of these bodies. Reforming the appointments process to prioritize criteria of professional expertise and political independence would greatly enhance the capacity and legitimacy of these bodies.

The distribution of state advertising remains highly vulnerable to abuse by politicians seeking to reward political allies in the media. This risk can be addressed by bolstering transparency and introducing rules that ensure all distribution decisions are based on objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory criteria.

Recent reforms to bolster independent journalism and press freedom have helped produce progress on safety and source protection, and by many measures the media is in good shape. However, vigilance and further reforms are required to shore up the country’s defenses against media capture to strengthen the independent press, and the report makes a number of recommendations to this end. With elections due in September there is fear that the progress made in recent years may be rapidly unwound. Moreover, while not directly related to media capture, the continued impunity for the masterminds of the murder of Kuciak and Kusnirova continues to cast a shadow over journalism in the country.

The report was commissioned as part of IPI’s series of reports into media capture in Central and Eastern Europe, which involves the capture of once-independent media houses by vested political or business interests, which collude to control the narrative and serve their own political and financial ends.In return for state advertising funds and lucrative contracts in other industries, governments and oligarchs find mutual benefits in media offering positive, compliant coverage. This stealth-like takeover of news media by oligarchic owners working with state authorities in many central and eastern European countries has severely distorted the free flow of information and eroded media pluralism, with deeply damaging effects on democracy.

For more information on IPI’s work on media capture in Europe please follow this link.

The report was published with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and as part of IPI’s programme of work in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a project which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.  MFRR is supported by funding from the European Commission.

This statement was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. 

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mission to Turkey Library

Media Freedom on the Line as Turkey Approaches Elections

Media Freedom on the Line as Turkey Approaches Elections

As Turkey prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections, press freedom and human rights groups demand that, whoever forms the next government, unwinding a decade of restrictions on media freedom must be a central priority for the country.

 

Turkish translation available here.

The extent of the media freedom crisis facing Turkey is outlined in the International Press Institute’s (IPI) report ‘Turkey: Throttling the Media in Crucial Election Year’ to be presented on World Press Freedom Day, 2023. The report is based on the results of the international media freedom mission led by IPI in October 2022. 

 

According to the report: Turkey’s journalists are facing a perfect storm of physical, judicial and regulatory threats designed to silence independent reporting and muzzle public debate.

 

The passing of the disinformation law in 2022 was the latest effort to bring the digital space to heel and ensure the social media platforms either submit to a role as conduits for government censorship, or resist and risk enormous financial penalties and ultimately their closure. 

 

Media regulators continue to fine broadcasters for critical programming and the courts continue the prosecution of journalists. Meanwhile a febrile atmosphere generated by political hostility to journalists, backed by a police force that beats up journalists with impunity, has created a tinderbox that could ignite into violence and further suppression at any moment.

 

In the months since the mission, journalists have been fearful of falling foul of the disinformation law which criminalizes ‘disinformation and fake news’ which is loosely defined as news intended to instigate fear, panic, endanger the security, public order or the health of society. The law establishes a framework for extensive censorship of online information and the criminalization of journalists.   While we are aware of only a handful of cases where the law has been cited when detaining individual journalists to date, it provided the legal basis for the unprecedented throttling of Twitter in February which the government initially justified as necessary to stop the spread of fake news following the earthquake. Public reaction forced the government into a swift U-turn. 

 

We call on the new government to immediately abolish the disinformation law.

 

During 2023 the broadcast regulator, RTÜK, has continued to issue fines against independent broadcasters on an almost monthly basis for criticizing the government. This evidence reinforced the mission report’s conclusions that the regulator has been weaponized to silence legitimate criticism and that this crucially undermines the electoral process. 

 

We call on the new government to ensure that all media regulators are fully independent of government and that they operate without prejudice and in full respect of media freedom. 

 

In the year since May 3, 2022 the Mapping Media Freedom database records 34 physical assaults on at least 72 journalists. This unacceptably high level of violence reinforces concerns expressed in the report about prosecutors’ failures to adequately punish those who perpetrate violence against journalists including the lack of accountability for police officers who assault journalists. 

 

We call on the new government to reform the judicial authorities’ approach towards journalists’ safety.

 

The April 25 dawn raids on Kurdish media which saw first the detention of at least 10 journalists of which five have since been charged with membership of an illegal organization, underline the relentless suppression faced by Kurdish journalists. The report records the mission’s meeting in Diyarbakir with journalists to discuss their plight following similar raids in June 2022 that saw the arrests of 20 journalists. 

 

We call on the new government to end the decades-long suppression of Kurdish journalism. 

 

The mission met with representatives of the Constitutional Court which has issued some important rulings including the August 2022 ruling that the arbitrary and consecutive bans on public advertising in independent newspapers by the Press Advertising Agency (BIK) violated freedom of expression and press freedom. However, there remain major challenges on the implementation of its rulings by lower courts and the delays in addressing important freedom of expression violations underscoring that justice delayed is justice denied. 

 

We call on the new government to reinforce the independence and capacity of the Constitutional Court to pursue and speed up justice for journalists and ensure its rulings, and those of the European Court of Human Rights are followed by the lower courts. 

 

The mission report further notes how, under the conditions, the survival of Turkey’s journalism can be attributed to some incredible and courageous individuals dedicated to their journalistic mission, backed by networks of journalists’ organizations, nationally and internationally, ready to support their members and colleagues wherever possible. It is also a result of a public thirst for independent reliable news that cannot be quenched. Turkey’s journalists still have a pivotal role to play in this election year and the building of a strong democratic society to come.

 

The mission was led by the International Press Institute (IPI) and included ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropea (OBCT) and Amnesty International Turkey (AI). It was organized as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) programme. 

Signed by:

  • Amnesty International
  • International Press Institute (IPI)
  • European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  • Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  • Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT)
  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
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Türkiye’de Seçimler Yaklaşırken Basın Özgürlüğü Tehlikede

Türkiye yaklaşan cumhurbaşkanlığı ve meclis seçimlerine hazırlanırken, medya özgürlüğü ve insan hakları kuruluşları; seçimin ardından iş başına gelecek hükümeti kim kurarsa kursun, medya özgürlüğü üzerindeki on yıllık kısıtlamaların kaldırılmasının ülke için temel bir öncelik olmasını talep ediyor. 

Türkiye’nin karşı karşıya olduğu medya özgürlüğü krizinin boyutları Uluslararası Basın Enstitüsü’nün (IPI) Dünya Basın Özgürlüğü Günü 2023 kapsamında sunulacak olan ‘Türkiye: Kritik Seçim Yılında Medyaya Yönelik Kısıtlamalar’ başlıklı raporunda özetlenmiştir. Rapor, Ekim 2022’de IPI öncülüğünde yürütülen medya özgürlüğü uluslararası misyonunun sonuçlarına dayanmaktadır.

Rapora göre: Türkiye’deki gazeteciler, bağımsız haberciliği susturmak ve kamusal tartışmayı sessizleştirmek için tasarlanmış fiziksel, yargısal ve mevzuata dayalı tehditlerden oluşan mükemmel bir fırtınayla karşı karşıyadır.

Ekim 2022’de kabul edilen ve sosyal medya mecralarını hükümet sansürü için bir aygıt haline gelerek boyun eğme ya da direnerek yüksek para cezaları ile karşı karşıya kalma ve nihayetinde kapatılma riskini göze alma seçeneklerine zorlayan Dezenformasyon Yasası, dijital alanı boyun eğmeye zorlama amacıyla meclise getirilen en son girişimdi. 

Medya düzenleyicileri eleştirel programlar nedeniyle yayıncılara ceza kesmeye, mahkemeler de gazetecileri yargılamaya devam ediyor. Bu arada, gazetecilere cezasızlık zırhı altında fiziksel şiddet uygulayan bir polis gücü tarafından desteklenen, gazetecilere yönelik siyasi düşmanlığın yarattığı gergin ortam, her an şiddete ve daha fazla baskıya dönüşebilecek bir yangın yeri yaratmış durumda.

2022 yılının sonunda gerçekleştirilen misyondan bu yana gazeteciler; korku, panik yaratma, toplumun güvenliğini, kamu düzenini veya sağlığını tehlikeye atma amaçlı haberler olarak muğlak bir şekilde tanımlanan ‘dezenformasyon ve yalan haberleri’ suç sayan dezenformasyon yasasının radarına takılmaktan çekindiler. Yasa, çevrimiçi bilginin kapsamlı bir şekilde sansürlenmesi ve gazetecilerin kriminalize edilmesi için bir çerçeve oluşturmaktadır. Bugüne kadar bireysel olarak habercilerin gözaltına alınması sırasında bu yasaya atıfta bulunulduğu sadece birkaç vaka gözlemlense de, yasa Şubat ayında Twitter’ın eşi benzeri görülmemiş bir şekilde kısıtlanmasına yasal dayanak sağlamış ve hükümet başlangıçta depremin ardından yalan haberlerin yayılmasını durdurmak için gerekli olduğu gerekçesini öne sürmüştür. Ancak kamuoyundan gelen yoğun tepki hükümeti bu konuda keskin bir U dönüşüne zorlamıştır. 

Yeni hükümeti, dezenformasyon yasasını derhal yürürlükten kaldırmaya çağırıyoruz.

2023 yılı boyunca yayın düzenleyicisi RTÜK, hükümeti eleştirdikleri gerekçesiyle bağımsız yayıncılara neredeyse her ay ceza kesmeye devam etmiştir. Bu kanıtlar, misyon raporunun, düzenleyici kurumun meşru eleştirileri susturmak için güçlü bir araç olarak kullanıldığı ve bunun seçim sürecini önemli ölçüde baltaladığı yönündeki sonuçlarını desteklemiştir. 

Yeni hükümeti, tüm medya düzenleyicilerinin hükümetten tamamen bağımsız olmalarını, medya özgürlüğüne tam saygı çerçevesinde ve önyargısız faaliyet göstermelerini sağlamaya çağırıyoruz. 

Mapping Media Freedom veritabanı 3 Mayıs 2022’den bu yana geçen bir yıl içinde en az 72 gazeteciye yönelik 34 fiziksel saldırı vakası kaydetmiştir. Kabul edilemez düzeydeki şiddet vakaları, gazetecilere saldıran polis memurlarının hesap verebilirliğinin olmaması da dahil olmak üzere, savcıların gazetecilere karşı şiddet uygulayanları uygun şekilde cezalandırmadaki başarısızlıklarına ilişkin raporda dile getirilen endişeleri güçlendirmektedir. 

Yeni hükümeti, adli makamların gazetecilerin güvenliğine yönelik yaklaşımında reform yapmaya çağırıyoruz.

25 Nisan’da Kürt medyasına yönelik şafak baskınlarında ilk etapta en az 10 gazetecinin gözaltına alınması ve bunlardan beşinin örgüt üyeliğiyle suçlanması, Kürt gazetecilerin karşı karşıya kaldığı amansız baskıyı gözler önüne sermektedir. Rapor, misyonun Haziran 2022’de 20 gazetecinin gözaltına alındığı benzer baskınların ardından gazetecilerin durumunu görüşmek üzere Diyarbakır’da gazetecilerle bir araya geldiğini de hatırlatmaktadır. 

Yeni hükümeti, Kürt medyasına yönelik on yıllardır süren baskılara son vermeye çağırıyoruz. 

Heyet, Basın İlan Kurumu’nun (BİK) bağımsız gazetelerdeki kamu reklamlarını keyfi ve art arda yasaklamasının ifade ve basın özgürlüğünü ihlal ettiğine dair Ağustos 2022 tarihli kararı da dahil olmak üzere bazı önemli kararlar veren Anayasa Mahkemesi temsilcileriyle bir araya geldi. Bununla birlikte, kararların alt mahkemeler tarafından uygulanmasına ilişkin büyük zorluklar devam etmekte ve önemli ifade hürriyeti ihlallerinin ele alınmasındaki gecikmeler, ‘geciken adalet, adalet değildir’ sözünü akıllara getirmektedir. 

Yeni hükümeti, gazeteciler için adaleti yakından takip etmek ve hızlandırmak üzere Anayasa Mahkemesinin bağımsızlığını ve kapasitesini güçlendirmeye ve bu mahkemenin ve Avrupa İnsan Hakları Mahkemesinin kararlarının alt mahkemeler tarafından takip edilmesini sağlamaya çağırıyoruz. 

Raporda ayrıca, mevcut koşullar altında Türkiye’de gazeteciliğin, kendini gazetecilik misyonuna adamış, ulusal ve uluslararası gazetecilik meslek örgütleri ağları tarafından desteklenen ve mümkün olan her yerde üyelerini ve meslektaşlarını desteklemeye hazır olan cesur ve özverili bireyler sayesinde ayakta kalabildiği belirtilmektedir. Bu aynı zamanda kamuoyunun bağımsız ve güvenilir haberlere olan yoğun ihtiyacının da bir sonucudur. Gazetecilerin Türkiye’deki bu seçim yılında ve gelecekte güçlü ve demokratik bir toplumun inşasında oynayacakları çok önemli bir rol vardır.

Uluslararası Basın Enstitüsü (IPI) öncülüğündeki heyette ARTICLE 19, Gazetecileri Koruma Komitesi (CPJ), Avrupa Basın ve Medya Özgürlüğü Merkezi (ECPMF), Sınır Tanımayan Gazeteciler (RSF), Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropea (OBCT) ve Uluslararası Af Örgütü Türkiye (AI) yer almıştır. Bu misyon, Medya Özgürlüğü Acil Müdahale (MFRR) programının bir parçası olarak düzenlenmiştir. 

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Library

Tackling Impunity: Lessons from the Public Inquiry into the…

Tackling Impunity: Lessons from the Public Inquiry into the Assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia

The murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia sent shockwaves across Europe and was a grim reminder of the risk reporters face while uncovering abuses of power. It was the first assassination of a journalist worldwide to be investigated through an independent Public Inquiry. To mark one year since the damning findings were unveiled, ARTICLE 19 Europe and The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation today publish a report that explores the efficacy of the Maltese Public Inquiry model, assessing whether it stands up as good practice.

The Public Inquiry into the circumstances of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination was the first Public Inquiry to have taken place in Malta in nearly 20 years. It followed a strong public demand for a strengthened capacity to tackle corruption and wider rule-of-law reforms. The research from ARTICLE 19 Europe and The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, ‘Tackling Impunity: Lessons from the Public Inquiry into the Assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia’, assesses the significance of the Maltese Public Inquiry in the fight for truth, accountability and justice for Daphne’s assassination and the vital role civil society and international organisations play in ensuring an independent investigation is carried out. In addition, the report identifies lessons that can be learned from the Public Inquiry process so far, summarises its key achievements, and makes recommendations to the Government of Malta, to European Union institutions, and to international civil society.

This report was coordinated as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries and Ukraine.

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Feindbild-6 Library

Feindbild Journalist 6 – Hatred on the Doorstep

Feindbild Journalist 6 – Hatred on the Doorstep

(Leipzig, 14/06/2022) — The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response, (MFRR) has published the English translation of the 2021 iteration of “Feindbild”, an annual study into politically-motivated violence against journalists in Germany. “Feindbild 6 – Hatred on the Doorstep” was first published in German in April 2022.

Key findings: A new negative record

As part of the study, ECPMF recorded a record number of 83 physical attacks on journalists and media workers, an increase of 14 from the previous year. These attacks affected 124 media workers or teams, although the researchers assume that the number of unreported cases is high. Co-author of the report, Martin Hoffmann said:

 

Since we started recording cases in 2015, we have never verified so many violent attacks against media professionals as in 2021. Serious threats and physical attacks are part of the everyday work of more and more journalists. This does not remain without consequences. A growing number of journalists are therefore withdrawing from covering demonstrations.

 

Demonstrations and protests were the context in which attacks against the press happened most frequently in Germany. 75% took place at demonstrations of pandemic-related protest networks such as Querdenken.

 

As in previous years, Saxony remains the largest offender when it comes to politically-motivated violence against journalists, with 23 recorded incidents in 2021. However, this year marked an increase in the number of attacks taking place in western Germany.

 

The political background of the attackers in 2021 was highly varied. 39% of attackers came from right-wing perpetrators, 1% from the left, and 39% could not be attributed to any particular political stance.

 

Attacks increased towards the end of 2021, with 19 recorded in December and 18 in January 2022 — the highest number recorded in any two months since the start of the research in 2015.

 

Support from BDZV

For the first time, the German Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) supported the production of the Feindbild study. Speaking of the report’s findings, Mr. Sigrun Albert, General Manager of BDZV said:

 

Unfortunately, the new Feindbild study confirms our assumption that local journalists are increasingly being targeted by violent attacks because of their work. Hateful attacks and massive digital threats are also at least as disturbing.

 

BDZV will partner with and support ECPMF to implement long-term monitoring of attacks facing journalists in Germany and to develop counter-measures in response. Dr. Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of ECPMF, said:

 

What we need is more protection for media professionals, more consistent punishment of criminal offences, and more media literacy education. The partnership with BDZV enables us to explore and analyse the problems in the local space more intensively in the future. We are looking forward to the collaboration.

This report was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries and Ukraine.

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MFRR fact finding mission to the Netherlands February 2022 Library

Netherlands: Towards a safer haven: Advancing safety of journalists…

Netherlands: Towards a safer haven: Advancing safety of journalists amidst rising threats in the Netherlands

Following interviews with more than twenty local stakeholders, the MFRR concludes that policy and practice around the safety of journalists in the Netherlands in many ways constitutes a best practice example, thanks to its pioneering PersVeilig mechanism. Nevertheless, there remains a need to strengthen several areas to better protect journalists and media workers against the increasingly hostile climate pursuant to intensified societal polarisation and threats emanating from organised crime.

The report details the findings and recommendations of the MFRR’s online fact-finding mission that took place in February 2022, led by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) together with the European Centre of Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the International Press Institute (IPI), with the participation of the other MFRR partners plus the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, and in collaboration with the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Journalisten (NVJ).

The Netherlands generally remains a safe haven for journalists and media workers. The pioneering PersVeilig mechanism is a key actor in ensuring and advancing journalists’ safety and is a noteworthy example of constructive cooperation and dialogue between the journalistic community and state authorities. Both symbolically and practically, PersVeilig makes it clear that attacks and harassment of reporters are not tolerated and are addressed collectively.

While the assessment of PersVeilig is overwhelmingly positive, both among the MFRR’s partner organisations and its interlocutors during the fact-finding mission, room for improvement remains in a number of areas. These include implementing agreed-upon protocols more consistently and ensuring the project’s capacity and continuity.

Despite the relatively favourable conditions for press freedom and a pioneering mechanism, the MFRR mission confirmed that aggression against journalists is on the rise amidst a hardening of public debate and increasing polarisation in society. Subsequently, and despite the high willingness to cooperate between the journalistic community and law enforcement, the need remains to ensure a better understanding of the role of the press during protests, as well as changes to operational procedures to protect this role.

Certain categories of journalists suffer specific threats, particularly freelance reporters and women journalists. In this regard, it became clear throughout the mission that the Dutch approach to the safety of journalists lacks a gender lens. Moreover, while the Dutch policy approach scores well when it comes to putting in place mechanisms to protect journalists and prosecute offenders, there is room for improvement as concerns prevention.

Furthermore, with regard to threats from organised crime, there is a need to study the creation of tailored protection packages and consider improvements to the protection of journalists who cover high-profile criminal trials.

In light of its findings and to ensure that the Netherlands maintains its leadership position when it comes to the safety of journalists, the MFRR issued more than twenty specific recommendations to the authorities of the Netherlands, law enforcement, the journalistic community, PersVeilig and social media platforms.

The fact-finding mission to the Netherlands was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.