AZIR

Asociatia Ziaristilor Independenti din Romania

Mihai Creanga 1942-2019

Ne-a părăsit azi, în prima zi de Crăciun, reputatul ziarist Mihai Creangă (n. 1942), unul dintre cei cinci membri fondatori ai Asociației noastre de Ziariști Independenți din România. Au existat mai mulți mari ziariști ai noștri bucuroși să ne dea girul. Dar a fost singurul dintre ei, a cărui căldură și simplitate ne-a determinat să îndrăznim (atunci când, la îndemnul Asociației Jurnaliștilor Europeni cu sediul la Bruxelles, existând din 1961, am pornit să ne legalizăm apartenența, înființând filiala ei românească), să-i cerem și să înfrunte alături de noi opreliști, bețe în roate, tergiversări, cozi pe la foruri circumspecte, organe juridice, unde trebuia să ne punem semnăturile toți odată și în prezență. A făcut-o cu generozitate, naturalețe, modestie.

Se întâmpla în 2004.

Mihai Creangă avea pentru noi prestigiul ziaristului care lucrase înainte de 1989 la România liberă, singurul ziar digerabil din Republica Socialistă România, grație unui colectiv redacțional cu care orice ziarist demn de acest nume ar face bucuros echipă și azi. Sau mai ales azi: fusese, de-a lungul îndelungatei sale cariere, coleg cu Tia Șerbănescu, Florica Ichim, Petre Mihai Băcanu, Anton Uncu, Gabriel-Florin Mărculescu, Garoafa Iuga, Mirela Rosnoveanu.

Avea, mai mult de atât, faima legendară a celui care împreună cu Petre Mihai Băcanu, Anton Uncu, Ștefan Niculescu-Maier și Alexandru Chivoiu, aceștia din urmă, unul informatician, iar celălalt tipograf, hotărâseră, ca membri ai unei grupări anticeaușiste, evident ilegale, imposibilul: tipărirea unui ziar clandestin. Aceasta se întâmpla în anul 1988. (Mihai Creangă lucra în acel moment la România pitorească.)

După ce au încercat mai multe variante tehnice, complotiștii au recurs la metoda culegerii manuale, cu litere de plumb sustrase din Combinatul „Casa Scânteii”. Au rezultat patru pagini suficient de explozive ca să le pună libertatea în primejdie și să ducă la anchete extinse în toată redacția și chiar în tot bastionul presei controlate care era Casa Scânteii. Ceea ce a provocat destituiri, retrogradări, expedieri la munca de jos ale unor colegi.

Ei cinci au fost arestați în urma unui denunț, la 25 ianuarie 1989, şi, după o anchetă dură, în arestul Securității – Direcția a 6-a cercetări penale – care a durat 93 de zile, Mihai Creangă a fost trimis în domiciliu obligatoriu la Târgu Jiu, din care scăpat după 22 decembrie 1989. Despre această experiență Mihai Creangă n-a vorbit mult, de aceea, una dintre puținele lui mărturii mai legate, cea făcută cu prilejul unui simpozion anual la Memorialul Sighet, este prețioasă. Aici ziaristul arată că încadrarea inițială în articolul Codului Penal privind „propaganda împotriva orânduirii socialiste” a fost schimbată, după două luni, în diverse alte încadrări de drept comun, pentru a nu se crea impresia că regimul Ceaușescu mai are deținuți politici:

„Aici (la Sighet, n.r.) sunt oameni care au stat ani grei în pușcărie și în condiții infinit mai dure decât cele în care am stat noi. Aș zice că, prin comparație, detenția noastră a fost ca într-un hotel de lux. Bineînțeles, nici o clipă nu mi-am mai văzut colegii, nu aveam, evident, nici o știre dinafară și eram fiecare în celulă separată. Eu am avut norocul ca fereastra de la celula mea să dea spre o aripă de la Patriarhie era postul Paștilor, fiind încă iarnă, întunericul cădea destul de devreme și vedeam mereu aprinsă o luminiță acolo, până trebuia să trag obloanele. Știam că mă rog lui Dumnezeu și că am un semn prin acea luminiță, pe care o vedeam noaptea.”

A fost cu toate astea o anchetă dură, ca de sfârșit de regim, despre care Mihai Creangă povestește: „Am avut doi anchetatori: unul juca rolul anchetatorului «rău», celălalt al anchetatorului «bun»; era clar că erau roluri, pentru că se urmărea, ca şi prin tortură, de data asta cu metode bine puse la punct, ruperea personalității. Şi atunci, erai ca într-un duș cald-rece”.

(Vezi Mihai Creangă, În numele libertății presei în Romulus Rusan, editor, Analele Sighet 10: Anii 1973-1989. Cronica unui sfârșit de sistem, Fundația Academia Civică, 2003.)

Aproape imediat după Revoluție, Mihai Creangă a condus suplimentul Aldine” al României libere, care a urmărit tot ce era efort de memorie și consemnare a represiunii în timpul regimului comunist, reflectând activitățile instituțiilor: Asociația Foștilor Deținuți Politici, Memorialul Sighet, Alianța Civică, Editura Humanitas etc, prin pagina/ paginile intitulate „Procesul comunismului”.

Prima acțiune de anvergură a proaspăt înființatei noastre asociații – Asociația Ziariștilor Independenți din România (AZIR) –, al cărei membru fondator devenise cu un devotament tineresc ieșit din comun, expoziția „Înscrisuri dușmănoase/Scripta Hostilia”, 2005, a oglindit, la rându-i, cu documente detaliate, singulara și riscanta sa acțiune clandestină din perioada de agonie a regimului comunist.

http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-arhiva-1238479-inscrisuri-dusmanoase.htm

Ne-a reprezentat și în alte acțiuni de mare impact, printre altele, întâlnirea cu studenții de la Facultatea de Jurnalism și Științele Comunicării de la Universitatea București, conduse de Antonio Momoc, cunoscute sub numele de „Serile FJSC”, la care trimit de asemenea numeroase linkuri pe internet.

Pentru AZIR, Mihai Creangă, devenit în ultimii ani membru de onoare, a fost un reper, un imbold, un etalon profesional și un prieten de care ne despărțim îndurerați.

Plecat în prima zi de Crăciun, ca un om de o discretă pietate creștină ce era, cu toată întristarea, ne rugăm să-i fie drumul lin, în lumină.

Nu-i vom uita modelul și exemplul!

Doina Jela,

25 decembrie 2019

 

Protest al sectiei albaneze a AEJ

14.12.2019

Protest al Secției Albaneze a AEJ

Secția Albaneză, proaspăt intrată în Asociația Jurnaliștilor Europeni, protestează împotriva unei legi a guvernului de la Tirana care prevede limitarea libertății de expresie în presa online. Mai jos, postăm un articol din 9 decembrie 2019, publicat de New York Times.

OSCE Warns Albania Not to Block Freedom of Expression Online

By The Associated Press

Dec. 9, 2019

TIRANA, Albania — The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Monday urged authorities in Albania to further amend a draft law on a new registration system for online media.

Harlem Desir, the OSCE's media freedom representative, urged the Albanian Parliament to make more amendments to the new legislation, adding that “much will also depend on the implementation.”

He stressed that the regulatory agency must be fully independent and free of political interference.

Last year’s draft law on online media and the government’s threat to impose heavy fines on unregistered electronic media providers were criticized by the OSCE and local media organizations.

Asociația Jurnaliștilor Europeni a reacționat imediat și, în 12 decembrie 2019, a postat pe site-ul oficial următoarea declarație:

AEJ Statement on the draft media law proposed by the Albanian government

December 12 2019

The Association of European Journalists’ Albanian section expresses its urgent concern that the proposed new law on online media registration is a “direct attack” on the freedom of online media. We join the statements of 15 other associations and that of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media that this draft has serious defects that directly affect the freedom of online media.

The so called anti-fake news draft, whose stated goal is to stop the spread of fake news, child pornography and news that represent a risk to national security, actually reflects the demand for arbitrary powers to be assumed by the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama. The legislation threatens the fundamental rights of the Albanian public and is vigorously opposed by the media community and the associations that protect them.

15 associations of journalists have strongly criticized this new draft that is not yet voted by the parliament, considering it a great risk to media freedom and failing to provide workable solutions to issues related to fake news, propaganda, hate speech and disinformation.

The law has also been criticized by representatives of the European Union and the OSCE, who have called for less intrusive and wide-ranging approaches. The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe has stated said that the proposed stringent regulation of online media is not in line with the standards of the Council of Europe, so it is necessary to adopt different policies concerning online and offline media.

The official in the OSCE’s office in Tirana who has responsibilities for the media, Irina Radu has pointed out that many people benefit greatly from using online media because it is cheaper and less subject to restrictive controls. Earlier, the OSCE’s media freedom representative Harlem Desir called for a review of the draft law  proposed by the government.

We also welcome the comments made by the prestigious The New York Times newspaper which advocated a re-think of this draft legislation because of its likely damaging impact on online media freedom.

The law was drafted without initial consultation with journalists’ associations and was kept secret until a few weeks ago. The law grants the AMA (Albanian Media Audio Visual Agency) legal authority to fine online media based on third party annexes, to order the closure of internet portals in Albania without the necessary legal safeguards, or to impose fines of up to 8 million leke (about 6500 euros). It even gives powers to AKEP, an institution whose head is elected by political parties, to shut down online media without a proper legal procedure at the outset of a complaint by a third party, which significantly increases censorship and the risk of self-censorship in the media.

The proposal to impose a 20% tax on online media and a 6% tax on television stations demonstrates the hostile intent of this initiative by the ruling part, towards online media which criticize  its actions. According to official data the traditional media TVs have the highest annual revenues, yet they are to be more lightly taxed.

AEJ Albania insists that self-regulation is the best solution for the Albanian media, because any political interference violates its independence and has a negative impact on the country’s democracy.

For these reasons it calls on the Government and MPs not to vote on this legal initiative but instead to withdraw it. Such a vote would risk inflicting long-term damage on media freedom and obstructing Albania’s progress towards EU integration.

AZIR – secția română a AEJ – îi susține pe colegii albanezi în lupta lor pentru libertatea de exprimare.

 

Apel al Comitetului de Protectie a Jurnalistilor

CJP CERE NOULUI PREȘEDINTE AL COMISIEI EUROPENE SĂ PUNĂ PE PRIMUL PLAN LIBERTATEA PRESEI

 

Comitetul de Protecție a Jurnaliștilor a trimis o scrisoare noului președinte al Comisiei Europene, cerându-i ca libertatea presei, siguranța jurnaliștilor și accesul la informațiile publice să constituie o prioritate în politica Uniunii Europene, de acum încolo.

Asociația Jurnaliștilor Europeni se află printre cele 20 de organizații de presă care susțin această propunere.

Prezentăm  mai jos, în limba engleză, scrisoarea adresată doamnei Ursula von der Leyen, precum și apelul pentru a conferi „un mandat evident și puternic” pentru protecția libertății presei pe perioada următorilor cinci ani. Scrisoarea a fost trimisă VIneri, 19 iulie și dată publicității luni, 22 iulie a.c.

 

Dear President von der Leyen,

 

We are writing as members of the press freedom community to congratulate you on your appointment as President of the European Commission, and to urge you to ensure that media freedom, the protection of journalists, and EU citizens’ access to information are top political priorities over the coming term of your Commission.

 

The last Commission took important steps to address media freedom. But given the rapidly changing media environment, increasingly severe threats and restrictions to press freedom, and the recent murders of journalists, more must be done. We, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to appoint a Vice-President of the new Commission with a clear and robust mandate to use all available EU mechanisms, including policy, legislation, and budget, to defend press freedom and the safety of journalists. In particular, we urge you to explicitly list this mandate in your mission letter to one of the Vice-Presidents establishing it as a political priority over the next five-year term.

 

We ask that the Vice-President have a sufficiently robust and far-ranging mandate to address the following areas of reform:

 

Creating an enabling legal and regulatory environment for free, independent, pluralistic, and diverse media and the safety of journalists, whether staff, freelancers, or bloggers. Journalists need to be protected from judicial harassment, arbitrary surveillance, defamation, overly broad national security and anti-terrorist legislation, as well as SLAPP and tax laws.

Protecting journalists, freelancers, and bloggers from physical, legal, psychological, and digital threats, and ensuring access to effective protection and prevention measures and mechanisms, with specific attention to the risks facing female journalists.

Combating impunity for all attacks against journalists, freelancers, and bloggers, including support and capacity-building for law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary and the development of specialized protocols for investigations.

Continuing to combat disinformation through robust public defense of independent journalism and its critical importance in democracy. This should accompany efforts to increase public understanding of media freedoms, supporting social media self-regulation, and building media literacy.

Supporting sustainable models for independent journalism in promoting media independence, pluralism, and diversity, as well as allowing for effective self-regulation, capacity building, and training.

 

 

Media freedom and pluralism are pillars of modern democracy. For the next Commission to guarantee European citizens their right to access to information, it must use the coming term to address the numerous threats to journalism. We hope you will take steps to ensure it does.

 

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and thank you in advance for taking our concerns into consideration. We look forward to receiving your response.

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Alliance Internationale de Journalistes

Article 19

Association of European Journalists

Committee to Protect Journalists   (www.cpj.org)

European Federation of Journalists

European Journalism Centre

European Media Initiative

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

Free Press Unlimited

Global Forum for Media Development

IFEX

Index on Censorship

International Press Institute

Media Diversity Institute

PEN International

English PEN

Reporters Without Borders

Rory Peck Trust

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)

World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

The Impact of Brexit on Scotland: The AEJ hears three contrasting views from north of the border

“The Impact of Brexit on Scotland: The AEJ hears three contrasting views from north of the border” –  A discussion in the Scottish Parliament chaired by Rick Thompson on Thursday 26 September 2019


By AEJ UK member Charles Jenkins

Joan McAlpine (SNP) is the Member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) who sponsored the visit of AEJ members to the impressive modern parliament building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. She is the Scottish Parliament’s Convener of the Committee on Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs, and she opened the debate by saying that she believed the 62% vote to remain in the EU in Scotland in the 2016 referendum had since strengthened. There were, she said, already signs of negative impact on the Scottish economy, with unemployment slightly rising and previously strong investment falling. A major concern was the effect of prospective immigration restriction, since immigration to Scotland from Europe was important for demographic reasons. The proposed £30,000 income threshold would severely affect Scotland where 63% of employees currently earn less than that. With immigration restrictions in place Scotland would be likely to have a 5% smaller workforce over the next two decades, affecting especially social care and hospitality. The ‘differentiated’ arrangements for Scotland – including continued membership of the EU’s single market -- that the Scottish government had at first proposed were brushed aside by London without even being considered; and since then, she said, the interests and proposals of the Scottish government and Parliament had been consistently ignored.

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Conservatives’ Brexit and External Affairs spokesperson, introduced himself as a recent newcomer to the committee chaired by Joan McAlpine. He had been on the Remain side in the referendum but the vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU applied to the whole country and he was deeply convinced that the result should be honoured. When he had taken his seat in the Scottish Parliament three weeks before the EU referendum he had declared that he hoped to be the first generation for which the constitutional set-up would not be the leading topic of discussion. The EU referendum had overturned this hope, and he repeated the Conservative party’s opposition to a second referendum on either EU membership or Scottish independence. He observed that all Scottish Conservatives MPs had in fact voted for Theresa May’s deal. There were now differing views amongst Scottish Conservatives about the effect of No Deal, but he felt it would be very damaging generally and particularly for the Scottish Highlands which he represents. He did however note that he had heard some more upbeat views about the prospects from his constituents, notably fishermen, including shellfish farmers. So there would indeed be short-term disruption, Mr Cameron said, but there could also be long-term advantages. A many as one million Scottish voters had voted Leave, he said, and they had been “airbrushed out” of the Scottish debate.

Alex (‘Alec’) Rowley, the Scottish Labour Party’s Brexit spokesperson, said that all the Scottish Labour MSPs had supported the composite motion narrowly agreed at the Labour Party’s conference earlier in the week. That motion was for renegotiating Theresa Mays’s deal and holding a referendum to choose between a new deal that Labour promised to renegotiate and Remain within six months of a Labour government taking office, with ministers and others being allowed to campaign as they wished. He was clear that the position of the whole of the Scottish Labour Party in such a second referendum would be for Remain. He believed that a Conservative-led “hard Brexit” would indeed boost support for Scottish independence. He also noted that the SNP’s election manifesto had called for a new Scottish independence referendum in case Scotland was forced to quit the EU against the will of its people.

So far, he said, there was still no clear majority support among the public for such a new independence referendum. But support for independence would further increase if there were No Deal and the government’s Yellowhammer prognosis proved correct. In his view, recent events showed that “Westminster is broken”. For the future, Labour favoured substantially more devolution but not independence. He saw important parallels between the moves towards devolution to the English regions and the situation in Scotland (although Scotland would always have more powers than English regions) and admired Andy Burnham for giving a political voice to Greater Manchester. One of Scottish Labour’s demands for greater devolution powers was over immigration, and Alec pointed to Canada as a country that was already operating different immigration regimes for different provinces.

In response to a question about the wider strains on the UK constitution and the recent Supreme Court judgment, Joan McAlpine paid tribute to Joanna Cherry who took the case against the prorogation of the UK Parliament to the Scottish Court of Sessions and on to the UK Supreme Court. But she said that Article 50 had been triggered before the UK government had responded to Scotland’s proposals, showing contempt for the Scottish point of view. Although the constitutional affairs committee of the UK Parliament had made a sincere attempt to take Scottish concerns into account, she said its deliberations had also been ignored by the UK Parliament and government. And the joint ministerial committees that were set up to jointly deliberate Brexit-related issues had failed to produce any changes in the UK’s negotiating position in Brussels; they had   shown themselves to be “not fit for purpose”. She concluded that the constitutional inter-governmental structures of the UK were not working.

Donald Cameron did not accept that Scotland had been ignored.  He pointed out that some ministers in the UK government represent Scottish constituencies and that Michael Gove is from Scotland. He saw the fact that the Supreme Court largely upheld the finding of the Scottish Court of Sessions on the prorogation of the UK Parliament as a demonstration that the constitution was working well. He added that Brexit would have a profound impact on the devolution settlement for Scotland, with some of the powers now exercised by the EU on behalf of the UK as a member state, like those related to the environment, agriculture and industry, being devolved directly to Scotland after Brexit. Joan was sceptical of this given the pressures to maintain a level playing field within the UK. She said the SNP was demanding new powers over immigration, employment and additional areas of taxation.  Donald Cameron made clear that apart from the transfer of specific powers recovered from the EU, the Scottish Conservatives oppose further significant devolution.

Alec said that Scotland had not been forgotten but at a political level it had been ignored, despite the proactive efforts of the Scottish parliament as a whole. He said that the Smith Commission appointed after the Scottish referendum to recommend more devolution had disappointed in its recommendations for modest changes on income tax and social security and certainly not lived up to expectation to make the Scottish Parliament the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world.

In response to a question as to whether Scotland would be able to maintain its relatively high level of public spending under more difficult conditions ahead, Joan said the SNP was proud of the high level of public spending. She thought the rest of the UK would also benefit if levels of public spending were increased there, too. Alec claimed that the Southeast of England received a higher share of UK public spending than Scotland.

Questioned about the possible disruption caused by a second Scottish independence referendum, if it happened, Joan McAlpine remarked that Scottish people were now suffering from “anarchy” in London, and Scotland did not want to part of what she called “this failed state”. A new referendum on Scottish independence would above all be about what kind of country the people of Scotland want to live in. She said that Scotland would differentiate itself by being more welcoming to immigration, including refugees.

Asked how they saw Scotland’s future evolving in the next 10 or 20 years, Joan expressed confidence in the strength of Scotland’s “international brand” and sense of identity; she saw its future as a returning member state of the EU.  Alec saw Scotland as well-placed compared to other countries where right-wing populist governments were getting elected, but insisted that the idea of Scotland’s economic self-sufficiency and a separate Scottish currency would continue to be unrealistic.  Donald believed that the younger generation of Scots wanted to be part of an internationally connected and outward-looking world with fewer borders.