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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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MFRR renews call for justice in Kuciak murder ahead…

MFRR renews call for justice in Kuciak murder ahead of verdict

Ahead of the announcement of the verdict into the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová next week, IPI, who have been observing the court hearing, outlines the importance of this case for media freedom in Slovakia and Europe.

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) renewed its call for justice for Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, as a court in Pezinok prepares to issue a verdict in the trial of their suspected killers on Wednesday 5th August.

Kuciak, whose work for the online news site Aktuality.sk uncovered allegations of tax fraud and financial crime implicating prominent business and political leaders in Slovakia, and Kušnírová were killed in their home on 21 February 2018. The double murder sparked the largest protests in Slovakia since the Velvet Revolution, and led to the resignations of the Prime Minister Róbert Fico, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Culture Minister Marek Maďarič, and Chief of Police Tibor Gašpar.

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Serbia: financial probe into the work of journalists, media…

Serbia: financial probe into the work of journalists, media and civil society raises concern

Given recent attacks on journalists and media freedom in Serbia, we are concerned that a financial investigation targeting a number of media organisations and associations could be an abuse of legal mechanism in order to exert pressure on the critical voices in Serbia.

ARTICLE 19 and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), are concerned by a financial investigation launched by the Serbian authorities into journalists, media and civil society organisations. The Serbian Finance Ministry’s Money Laundering Prevention Department has drawn up a list of media, journalists and NGOs whose bank records it wants to check. The information about this list was published in the Serbian media on 27 July.

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Spain: Journalists operate in increasingly suffocating atmosphere

Journalists operate in increasingly suffocating atmosphere in Spain

Polarization and attempts by far-right party to smear fact-checkers and journalists undermine media freedom across the country.

Amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Spain’s far-right party, Vox  introduced a bill to Parliament which aims to regulate fact-checking news outlets in Spain. The text, published on July 17, explicitly forbids the verification of any statement on “social media, blogs, generic websites, print, online outlets and broadcasters“ unless the media organization publicly states its affiliation, if any, to a political party, government or ideology.

The bill also prohibits the fact-checking of “opinions” and includes a provision by which fact-checkers can be held legally liable for labelling them as ‘fake news’. Here MFRR partner, International Press Institute explores what this means for media freedom across the country