Image of radio production studio Library

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.

Photograph of Oktay Candemir Library

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

Library

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

Library

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.

Library

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.

Library

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.

Library

Suspected mastermind in the murder of Slovak journalist Ján…

Suspected mastermind in the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak acquitted

After monitoring the proceedings, MFRR partner, IPI issue a statement for today’s verdict in the trial into the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová

The verdict is a major setback for justice and fight against impunity

The acquittal of suspected mastermind Marian Kočner and intermediary, Alena Zsuzsová in the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová is a major setback for justice and the fight against impunity, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) EPP Library

Press freedom threatened in Slovenia under PM Janša

New administration, old agenda: Press freedom strained again in Slovenia under veteran PM Janša

MFRR partner, the International Press Institute (IPI) explores the downturn in media freedom in Slovenia after a new government came to power under veteran Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Few countries in Europe have experienced such a swift downturn in press and media freedom after a new government came to power than in Slovenia under veteran Prime Minister Janez Janša. In the last six months, the outspoken PM, who took office in March 2020 and previously governed the country on two prior occasions, has immediately renewed long-standing grievances with the press and denigrating critical media outlets.

Going far beyond reasonable criticism, experts say, Janša has launched a series of vitriolic attacks on critical reporters on Twitter, enabling a wider increase in digital harassment from online trolls and contributing to an increasingly hostile climate for watchdog journalism.

Read this in-depth investigation from IPI to explore how these developments have damaged media freedom across the country.

Library

MFRR partners raise concerns about smear campaign directed at…

MFRR partners raise concerns about smear campaign directed at journalists in Montenegro

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners and press and media freedom organisations raise concerns about an online smear campaign directed at journalists in Montenegro

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners and press and media freedom organisations are deeply concerned by the smear and intimidation campaign undertaken against three journalists in Montenegro.

In mid-August, the online platform UDAR released a list of what it called “collaborators of Serbian secret services,“ which included three journalists, namely: Sinisa Lukovic and Vuk Lajovic of the daily Vijesti, and Drazen Zivkovic of the news site Borba.me. This inclusion is a clear attempt to target the journalists and undermine their reporting on corruption and abuse of power.

The MFRR calls on Montenegrin authorities to investigate the online website and to have the journalists’ names removed from the list immediately. Authorities should also launch an investigation into the activities of Udar to ensure that they uphold the legislation on media transparency.

Library

We call for whistleblower Jonathan Taylor to be protected

We call for the arrest warrant against whistleblower, Jonathan Taylor to be dropped

Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners, media protection, human rights, transparency and whistleblowing support organisations, alongside international jurists call on Monaco to immediately withdraw the arrest warrant that led to SBM Offshore whistleblower Jonathan Taylor being arrested in Dubrovnik airport.

We call on the Monaco authorities to immediately withdraw all charges against Jonathan Taylor and allow him to return home without further delay. On 31 July 2020, he  was arrested and detained at Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia as he arrived for a short holiday with his wife and three children on charges of “bribery and corruption” originally lodged by the public prosecutor in Monaco. In 2014, Mr Taylor blew the whistle on a $275 million international network of bribes paid by his former employer, oil platform company SBM Offshore. Due to evidence he provided to the UK Serious Fraud Office, investigators in Brazil and the Netherlands as well as the FBI and the Department of Justice in the United States, SBM Offshore was fined over $800 million. A judge in Dubrovnik released Jonathan on bail on 3rd August 2020, but he has to remain in Croatia, with the threat of pending legal action hanging over his head. 

A number of MFRR partners are joined by leading experts from across the globe calling for the arrest warrants to be dropped enabling Mr Taylor to travel freely.