Latest threats to media freedom

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Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

Update : 29 Jun 2016
Date of entry 25 May 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
25 May 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1

On 18 May 2016 Turkish judicial authorities opened a criminal investigation against six journalists and trade unionists for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The journalists include Ertugrul Mavioglu, Faruk Eren, Ayse Düzkan, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur and Erol Önderoglu. The Co-Editorship-in-Chief campaign was launched by Özgür Gündem daily on 3 May 2016 for World Press Freedom Day (#WPFD) where up to 16 journalists participated.Requests have been filed for the journalists and trade unionists to testify for articles that are being considered "terrorist propaganda" and an "incitement to crime" which were published whilst they participated in the solidarity campaign.

Updates

New 29 Jun 2016 : On 26 June 2016, journalists Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Tuğrul Eryılmaz and Faruk Balıkçı were the next four editors of Özgür Gündem to be questioned on "terrorist propaganda" charges for participating in the solidarity campaign with the newspaper.

Follow-ups

New 20 Jun 2016 : CoE Commissioner for Human Rights appalled by detention of human rights defenders in Turkey will take this up with the authorities.
New 20 Jun 2016 : OSCE Representative appalled by imprisonment of two journalists and a human rights activist in Turkey, urges their release

Former Prime Minister Publicly Insults Two Journalists

Update : 29 Jun 2016
Date of entry 24 Mar 2016 Country Slovenia Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Submitted by EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
24 Mar 2016 Slovenia C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1

On 21 March 2016, the former Prime Minister of Slovenia and current leader of the main opposition party (SDS), Janez Jansa, insulted on his personal Twitter account a journalist and an editor from TV Slovenija (TVS), the Slovenian public broadcaster. They had broadcasted a story on the increase of hate speech against refugees and migrants in the country, including within SDS. On 21 March, at 7:43 pm, Janez Jansa posted a tweet naming the two journalists and comparing them to “disused prostitutes for 30 and 35 euros”. The Slovene Association of Journalists (DNS) and TVS journalists strongly condemned this public attack.

State replies

New 29 Jun 2016 : Reply from the Republic of Slovenia

Police Pressure and Censorship following the Release of Recorded Conversations of the Interior Ministry

Date of entry 28 Jun 2016 Country Spain Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
28 Jun 2016 Spain C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

Police officers intervened, on Friday 24 June 2016, in the news room of the daily Público, in Madrid, in order to seize the recording of conversations between the Spanish Interior Minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, and the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Catalonia, Daniel de Alfonso. On Tuesday 21 June 2016, the newspaper revealed these conversations, held on 2 and 16 October 2014, which are considered compromising for the Minister. Since they were not in possession of a warrant issued by a judge, the police could not seize the records. On 22 June, the Independent Council on Information of the Spanish public television channel TVE requested the immediate resignation of the Management of the Information Department and of TVE’s Director, accusing them of censoring the broadcast of extracts of the recordings during the TVE news.

Polish Journalists Targeted in Police Wiretapping, Audit Reveals

Update : 28 Jun 2016
Date of entry 31 Dec 2015 Country Poland Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
31 Dec 2015 Poland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

An internal investigation conducted by the Polish Bureau of Internal Affairs (BSW) has revealed police files containing recordings of conversations of around 80 individuals in the country, including several journalists. The recordings were made between mid-2014 and 2015 by units of the Polish police force. The revelation about the files followed an investigation ordered by the new head of the department of the Bureau of Internal Affairs (BSW), Zbigniew Maj, into the illegal recording of conversations between senior politicians. The investigation uncovered recordings of conversations about sensitive and controversial issues. The eavesdropping also targeted lawyers and journalists reporting on these matters, as well as their family members. The investigation uncovered that two separate police units were engaged in the wiretapping that involved approximately 29 officers, seven of which are facing disciplinary measures.

Updates

18 Feb 2016 : Reports from the central district attorney in Warsaw claim that the surveillance over journalists and their relatives from the "tape scandal" had apparently not taken place, counter to the internal police audit indications published earlier this year. In an official statement, Przemysław Nowak, the spokesperson for the district attorney, says: “The document submitted by the KGP [Police headquarters] does not hold up the suspicion of any offence whatsoever, including…the overstepping of permissions by functionaries of the police of the bureau of internal affairs...It does not give grounds for renewed investigations”. The head of the Polish police, Zbigniew Maj, had originally submitted the results of the audit to the Warsaw district attorney, who would decide whether to take up disciplinary procedures. Maj, who was appointed when the PiS party took power, has now stepped down from his post. Ryszard Walczuk, the former director of the BSW police, criticised the appointment of Maj due to previous allegations against him. In an interview with TVN news, Walczuk reported that his department had notified the ministry of internal affairs of an investigation into Maj from June 2015. The investigation, based on anonymous accusations, detail his alleged professional misconduct dating back years prior.

State replies

Threats to the Protection of Journalists Sources

Date of entry 24 Jun 2016 Country Belgium Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
24 Jun 2016 Belgium E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

The Minister of Justice of Belgium, Koen Geens, announced his intention to increase sentences for violation of professional secrecy, which would permit wiretapping or computer tracing of journalists' sources. The Minister also has plans to allow intelligence services to "withdraw the protection linked to the status of professional journalist" if these services consider that the beneficiary of that legal status in Belgium is not really a journalist. Professional organisations of journalists have denounced these projects, arguing that they undermine the protection of journalists' sources and the legal status of journalists. The General Association of Professional Journalists of Belgium (AGJPB) recalls that the status of professional journalist, in Belgium, is granted (supervised and withdrawn) by an independent commission of approval organised by law, and that it is therefore not the remit of intelligence services to interfere in an independent procedure.

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