CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Belgium, France, Germany, Internet, Luxembourg, Spain, UK

EU rulings on whistleblowers and right-to-be-forgotten laws puts press freedom at risk

The EU flag hangs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. A series of votes on legislation could impact journalists in member states. (AFP/Patrick Hertzog)

European journalists were reminded today that their freedom to report is not only determined by national laws, but increasingly by European institutions. Today, after years of political battle, the European Parliament adopted the Passenger Name Record directive, the Data Protection Package, and the Trade Secrets Protection Act. The stakes were immense and the debates long and heated, leading to dissent and divisions within many political groups-and campaigns about the potential impact from journalists.

Blog   |   France, Germany, Greece, Hungary

Journalists not welcome: Across Europe, press and migrants increasingly barred

Hungarian police try to stop a young migrant with a baby in September 2015. Journalists covering the refugee story report being harassed, blocked and sometimes attacked. (Reuters/Marko Diurica)

"The press is not allowed in refugee centers." The message from the Greek government could not have been clearer. "No permission will be given to television crews and reporters to enter such premises that hosts refugees," Yannis Mouzalas, the minister in charge of immigration policy, said in a February 29 statement. In protest the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions, one of Greece's most important media professionals' organizations, responded by underlining that "the need for awareness of society requires showcasing all aspects of the refugee crisis, including the conditions in refugee hosting areas."

Blog   |   Germany, Internet

Germany scores against the surveillance state

It all went very fast. On Tuesday morning August 4, Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Harald Range, was ordered by Justice Minister Heiko Maas to withdraw an independent expert from the investigation of two journalists from Netzpolitik. The investigator had concluded that leaked documents quoted by the news website amounted to a disclosure of a state secret, one of the required criteria to pursue a treason case. The prosecutor protested: “To meddle with an internal review on the basis that the results might be inopportune is an intolerable interference with the independence of the judiciary .” A few hours later on Tuesday evening Maas asked for the prosecutor to be granted early retirement. In plain words, Harald Range was sacked.

Blog   |   China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey

After Charlie Hebdo attack, vigils, protests and publishing bans

Protests against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were held in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and parts of Africa over the weekend, as crowds demonstrated against the magazine's portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad, according to news reports.

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   |   China, Denmark, Germany, USA

Thorning's chance to press China for media freedom

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue of press freedom. An edited version ran in the Danish newspaper Politiken today.

Speaking truthfully to China on its repression of human rights can be a tricky endeavor in diplomatic affairs, but Helle Thorning-Schmidt has a prime opportunity to raise press freedom on her trip to China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not give the issue public priority during their visits earlier this month, but as Thorning meets with top Communist Party leaders and addresses a World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, the opportunity must not be wasted.

Blog   |   Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, UK

Greek far-right party casts shadow on Europe press freedom

The celebration Tuesday of the 50th anniversary of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) should have been a joyful and lighthearted affair. Dozens of journalists from all parts of the European Union had traveled to Brussels to share memories, new projects, champagne, and petits fours.

Blog   |   France, Germany, Turkey

Attacks on Zaman test EU-Turkey ties

Last week, suspected supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, took their confrontation with the Turkish state to Western Europe, attacking the French and German offices of one of Turkey's most influential newspapers, Zaman.

Blog   |   CPJ, Germany, Security

Subjectivity, advocacy in covering human rights

The tension between objective news reporting and advocacy was the subject of the final plenary panel that I moderated last week at the Global Media Forum in Bonn. Sponsored by Germany's multi-language, government broadcast agency, Deutsche Welle, the three-day conference brought together journalists and experts from every continent to address but not necessarily resolve the media's role in covering human rights abuses.

Blog   |   Germany, Security, Somalia

Good discussions in Bonn; murder in Mogadishu

Journalism conferences discussing global trends often
inflate the real but intermittent risks faced by foreign correspondents from
wealthier nations who travel to and report from less stable regions of the
world. They do so at the expense of downplaying if not plain ignoring the much
greater risks faced by local journalists who live in such areas with their
families and report daily for homegrown, regional media. The Deutsche Welle
annual Global Media Forum in Bonn is not one of them.

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