CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Jean-Paul Marthoz

CPJ Europe Representative Marthoz is a Belgian journalist and longtime press freedom and human rights activist. He teaches international journalism at the Université catholique de Louvain and has reported from many countries for the Brussels daily Le Soir and the quarterly Enjeux international.

Blog   |   Hungary

Orbán walks fine line in Brussels with Hungary's media law

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Brussels last year. Hungary and its media law have come under scrutiny in the EU. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

"With the Islamic state offensive, the Ebola epidemic and Ukraine, Hungary is not on anyone's mind in Europe," mused one of our interlocutors during the Committee to Protect Journalists' fact-finding mission in Budapest in October. "Viktor Orbán has really nothing to fear from Brussels."

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey's reform fatigue, the EU's enlargement fatigue, and press freedom

A full Turkey membership would have a major impact on the EU domestic order and foreign standing. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

"The European Commission expressed serious concern about developments in the area of rule of law and fundamental rights (in Turkey)." It is progress report season in Brussels. As every year in early October, the commissioner in charge of enlargement unveils documents that judge the progress of all candidate countries in adopting European Union (EU) laws and standards, and Turkey is at the forefront.

Blog   |   France

French muckraker Mediapart to appeal to European Court of Human Rights

In the course of a couple of hours on Wednesday, France was rocked by two judicial decisions with profound political repercussions for French politics and the press' right to publish. Just as a baffled public learned that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had been put under formal investigation for corruption and influence-peddling, France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld a July 2013 lower court ruling ordering the muckraking news website Mediapart to take down 72 articles related to "l'affaire Bettencourt." It's a fight destined to continue, with a founder of Mediapart vowing to take the free-press case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Blog   |   Hungary

Hello, I'm Robert Capa, may I take a picture?

How would Robert Capa and Joe Pulitzer have reacted to the law that came into force on March 15 in their country of birth, Hungary? Let us guess that they would have been stunned. A provision in the new Hungarian civil code forbids taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph.

Blog   |   Montenegro

EU should scrutinize Montenegro--Wild West for the press

Vijesti Editor-in-Chief Mihailo Jovovic looks through a window damaged in a bomb blast at the newspaper's offices in Podgorica on December 27, 2013. (Reuters/Stevo Vasiljevic)

Nestled between Croatia's Dalmatian coast and Albania, the small state of Montenegro (14,000 square kilometers, 630,000 inhabitants) evokes images of sandy beaches, pristine lakes, and gorgeous mountains. The wild beauty advertised by its savvy tourist board, however, looks more like the Wild West for the Montenegrin press. In the past weeks a number of violent attacks against critical journalists have rocked the country. 

Blog   |   Belgium, Somalia

Duping pirates and endangering journalists

Belgium arrested Somali pirate chief Mohamed Abdi Hassan, shown in a January photo, after prosecutors lured him to Brussels on promises of shooting a documentary film about his life. (AFP/Abdi Hussein)

It could have been the script for a John Le Carré intrigue. On Saturday October 12, Belgian security agents arrested Mohamed Abdi Hassan, a kingpin of Somali piracy known as "Afweyne" (Big Mouth), and his associate Mohammed M. Aden, nicknamed Tiiceey, a former governor of Himan and Heeb province.

Blog   |   USA

The US press is our press

The front page of The New York Times, the day after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from office. (AFP/Stan Honda)

The international media depend on the U.S. press to cover U.S. stories--and many of these, from the subprime mortgage crisis to NSA surveillance, are global stories because of their worldwide repercussions. But international journalists also rely on the U.S. press to report and comment on most world events. Therefore any restriction on U.S. journalists' freedom to report inevitably reverberates around the globe.

Blog   |   France

Mediapart complies with ruling, but vows to fight on

At midnight on Monday, the French news website Mediapart complied with the Versailles court of appeal which last week ordered the site to withdraw articles referring to the Bettencourt recordings--the secret tapings of Liliane Bettencourt, the richest woman in France, by her butler. Mediapart as well as the newsweekly Le Point had been sued for violation of privacy by the Bettencourt family and by the L'Oréal heiress' legal tutor and fund manager, Patrice de Maistre. Le Point withdrew its articles on Friday.

Blog   |   France

French website Mediapart faces crippling judgment

Three years ago, revelations by the independent news website Mediapart on the "Bettencourt affair"-- allegations of illegal funding of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party by the heiress of the L'Oréal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt--put the fledgling site on the map, helped it build a reputation as a dogged and fearless muckraker, and boosted its subscriber base.

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