Asociatia Ziaristilor Independenti din Romania

AEJ national sections and journalists around Europe mark World Press Freedom Day

AEJ Sections and journalist around Europe mark World Press Freedom Day: paying tribute to courageous journalists and demanding safe working environments.


The Romanian Section of the AEJ (AZIR) celebrates World Press Freedom Day with a special event on 7 May focused on journalists’ dealing with those who wield political power. For the first time the AZIR Prize for the Independence of the Journalist will be awarded. The winner will be Tia Serbanescu, one of the most free spirits of contemporary Romanian journalism. Tia writes incisively and with humour about the society around her and the unedifying spectacle of Romanian politics today, maintaining her independence and exposing the follies and weaknesses of all political sides with equal candour. The event will be attended by AZIR members, fellow-journalists, media experts from the University of Political Sciences and the University of Journalism, and others who are committed to strengthening and protecting independent journalists who now have to work in difficult and often hostile environments.


In the UK the AEJ has responded jointly with Index on Censorship to urge the British government to rethink its proposals for new, wide-ranging regulation of “online harms” as set out recently in an online harms white paper. The government’s outline proposals are that a new legal duty of care by platforms would be established covering a very broad range of “harms”, for example disinformation and violent content. In combination with substantial fines and potentially even personal criminal liability for senior managers there I concern that it would create a strong incentive for platforms to remove content proactively – including news stories that might be deemed ‘harmful’ by the propoed new regulator although their contents is not illegal.

Other proposals in the white paper may also have damaging impacts on media freedom, such as potential ISP blocking (making a platform inaccessible in or from the UK). The draft provisions for ensuring protection of users’ rights online, particularly freedom of expression, rights to privacy and the public interest are now sketchy and inadequate, and they need to be robust, detailed and provided for in law.

The government’s proposals were the subject of a media freedom alert on the Council of Europe’ Platform for the afety of journalist on April 25.

Index on Censorship and the AEJ have asked the government to provide in unequivocal and concrete detail how it intends to establish such safeguards to make the future system of online regulation compatible with the UK’s obligations to uphold journalism and media freedom.

The alert can be viewed here:


Also in the UK the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will pay tribute to the life and work of the murdered Northern Ireland journalist Lyra McKee. The event take place on the evening of May 3, with NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet, and other speakers at the Free Word Centre in London. Funds raised by ticket sales will go towards the International Federation of Journalists Safety Fund.

On World Press Freedom Day the occasion will be an opportunity to review the range of challenges and threats facing journalists and press freedom throughout the world, and to pay respects to journalists who are currently in prison as well as to those who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.


World Press Freedom Day UNESCO conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Journalism in Times of Disinformation


The relationship between the press and democracy will be the main theme of this year’s edition of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) jointly organized by UNESCO, the Ethiopian government and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), from 1 to 3 May. More than one hundred events will also take place around the world in observance of the day.


How can journalism rise above emotional content and fake news during an election? What should be done to counter speeches demeaning journalists? To what extent should electoral regulations be applied to the internet? This year’s World Press Freedom Day, whose theme is “Media for Democracy, Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”, will be the occasion to reflect on these current issues.


Among the highlights will be the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize award ceremony on the evening of 2 May. The prize will be awarded, on the recommendation of an independent international jury, to imprisoned Myanmar journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone by Audrey Azoulay, in the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Amb. Kwesi Quartey.


This year, UNESCO also launched the Defend Journalism Campaign that encourages media to show their solidarity for a free and independent press through the use of banners on their printed publications and digital platforms.

AEJ Special Events and Media Freedom Campaigns mark Press Freedom Day - more...

AEJ Special Events and Media Freedom Campaigns are marking Press Freedom Day in Austria, Bulgaria,.Finland, Greece, Turkey; and a British ministers announces an ambitous global campaign to protect the work of free journalists to expose and counter ’corruption and misrule’. Details below:-


Austria:  Article by AEJ President Otmar Lahodynsky in Die Presse: “Straffreie Attacken auf die Medienfreiheit”

Zum Welttag der Pressefreiheit am 3. Mai: Ubergriffe auf Journalisten wurden zuletzt auch in Europa zur Normalitat.



AEJ Bulgaria marks #WorldPressFreedomDay  with the Launch of a Survey to identify the needs for specific trainings for journalists; and Supports a new Initiative Against Disinformation: Fakery - a campaign to increase media literacy and counter fake news and disinformation. See details below:

1) On May 3rd, AEJ-Bulgaria launches a survey among Bulgarian journalists asking them what kind of professional trainings they need. AEJ-Bulgaria has a portfolio of trainings, including data journalism, reporting of emergencies, fact checking using online tools, copyright in digital markets for journalists, ethical reporting on children (in partnership with UNICEF), but we also need to know what other trainings Bulgarian journalists need and to try to include these new ideas in our portfolio. Not only we organize trainings for journalists, but also we work on a media literacy project in  a number of Bulgarian high schools, in partnership with America for Bulgaria Foundation and Fulbright, Bulgarian American Commission for Educational Exchange.


2) AEJ-Bulgaria supports the initiative  that is launched on the occasion of May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day,  by the Fine Acts named Fakery - a campaign to increase media literacy and counter fake news and disinformation. AEJ-Bulgaria is a partner of the initiative. Fine Acts is a global platform that bridges art and activism in the name of social change.

“Fake news is no longer news. ?heir real consequences however are yet to be analyzed and understood. Fake news always affects us personally. But it is difficult to understand how until one falls victim to their grasp. That’s why we have created an experiment with a media "sensation" that has turned out to be irresistible. The "news" story we published demonstrated to unsuspecting people the smell and taste of fake news in real life”, stands the creators of Fakery.

Behind the idea of Fakery (The Fake News Bakery) are the stage designer Iliyana Kancheva and the IT programmer Ivan Shulev. Fakery is the winner of the second edition of ACT Labs - innovative events where multidisciplinary teams of artists and technologists seek solutions to human rights issues. The teams work together over a weekend and prototype ideas that raise awareness or provide solutions for a specific problem. The jury awards the best idea with a development grant.


3) AEJ-Bulgaria also supported the initiative of the British Embassy and the Chairwoman Irina Nedeva and Ivan Radev, member of the Board of AEJ-BUlgaria participated in the video initiated by the British Embassy

"Today is ?? #WorldPressFreedomDay??. The UK Government is committed to #DefendMediaFreedom both at home and overseas. We believe a free and independent media is an essential component to economic prosperity, social development and resilient democracies." To mark the day, The British Embassy in Bulgaria asked everyday Bulgarians and journalists about what media freedom means to them. See how the citizens and representatives of AEJ_Bulgaria responded in the video.


AEJ Finland:

In Helsinki the AEJ will celebrate World Press Freedom Day on Thursday 16 May with a talk by Juha Rekola, International Ombudsman for Journalists in Finland. His presentation will deal with the future of journalism in Finland and beyond including ethical issues relating to hate speech.


AEJ Greece

Freedom of Press in Danger?  On the occasion of the international day of Freedom of Press on 3 May, Europe’s Day on 10 May but also European Elections, the Greek Section of the Association of European Journalists will organise an event at the office of European Parliament in Athens on Friday 10 May. The purpose is to discuss the following issues:

§  Freedom of press in Europe,

§  Communication deficit and European Elections,

§  Protection of journalists,

§  Journalists and reporting in the past and today.

§  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its application in social media.

§  Data protection

§  The Mass Media and intelligence and defence agencies.

§  The new digital era in the Media.

A dialogue will be held among distinguished speakers in order to exchange views on the current situation in the Media as the freedom of press is continuously in danger. This event is addressed to professional journalists, representatives of news organisations, young journalists, journalism students, students and young people.



On 3 May a coalition of pre freedom and journalists’ groups in Turkey issued a joint declaration which aid in part:  “Again on May 3rd this year, we regret that we are experiencing severe problems. Tens of thousands of journalists are jobless, censorship and self-censorship are preventing the media from informing the public truthfuolly; the government is controlling 90 percent of the media, and hundreds of journalists are in jail.”

Haber-Sen, the Media, Communication and Postal Employees Union, which is also organized in the state run radio tv TRT,  called on the AEJ for international solidarity. Haber-Sen Secretary General Burak Ustaoglu said; "Today at 1600 TRT employees will be sent from their positions to other places. This is one of the biggest oppression operations on the TRT employees in the history of TRT. A massive exile. And it happens on the World Press Freedom Day. TRT was already turned into a mouthpiece of the government and did not give space to the voice of opposition during election campaign. With these operations, TRT employees who are not pro-AKP, pro-government will be totally wiped out."


The UK:

British Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt  set out his vision to improve media freedom in Africa and worldwide. He was speaking at the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event hosted by the African Union in Addis Ababa

He praised fearless investigative journalists who exposed massive corruption in Ghana, criticised the Tanzanian government for closing down The Citizen newspaper to suppress its trenchant criticism of government policies, denounced the Russian RT television channel for peddling the Kremlin’s line, and gave details about the UK’s ambitious global campaign for media freedom which will include a major international conference in July in London where all the world’s foreign ministers are invited.

Some extracts from his speech:-

“I want to start by celebrating the best of African journalism. Whether it is the editors who bring out independent newspapers against the odds; the journalists who brave threats and intimidation; or the bloggers who keep a vigilant eye on their leaders; all know better than anyone that a lively and free media provides the best possible safeguard against corruption and misrule.

Today, my argument is simple: media freedom is not a ‘Western’ value, still less a colonial-style imposition, but instead a force for progress from which everyone benefits.

The truth is that when governments start closing newspapers and suppressing the media, they are more likely to be storing up trouble for the future than preserving harmony. And far from being a cause of instability, responsible journalism and free media should help to avoid it.

And perhaps the greatest freedom fighter that Africa has known, Nelson Mandela, described a “critical, independent and investigative press” as the “lifeblood of any democracy”.

He added: “It is only such a free press that can temper the appetite of any government to amass power at the expense of the citizen…It is only such a free press that can have the capacity to relentlessly expose excesses and corruption.”

Media Freedom campaign: I want Britain too to play its part in championing media freedom. So I’ve joined my Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, to launch a global campaign to protect journalists doing their job and promote the global campaign to protect journalists doing their job and promote the benefits of a free media. In July, we will host the world’s first ministerial summit on media freedom in London.

Amal Clooney will serve as my Special Envoy, bringing to bear her expertise as a human rights lawyer. She will convene a panel of experts to recommend ways of strengthening the legal protection of journalists.

On this and other subjects, we want to work closely with the African Union and UNESCO, who I thank for hosting us today.Our overriding aim is to shine a spotlight on abuses and raise the price for those who would murder, arrest or detain journalists just for doing their jobs.

At the same time, we shouldn’t forget the international context Channels like RT – better known as Russia Today – want their viewers to believe that truth is relative and the facts will always fit the Kremlin’s official narrative. Even when that narrative keeps changing.

…The best defence against those who deliberately sow lies are independent, trusted news outlets. So the British Government is taking practical steps to help media professionals improve their skills.  By helping truth to prevail, a free media ultimately helps us all to flourish.”



For more information and events and activitie in Romania and the UK, see this AEJ news from 2 May:-

Să‑ţi fie ruşine, Tudorele!

Domnule judecător, vă rog să luaţi în seamă că textul de mai jos este un pamflet, adică un text literar din specia lirică, în care autorul îşi exprimă direct, mai frust şi mai expresiv, propriile sentimente şi idei, fără pretenţia de a avea perfectă dreptate sau de a fi pe placul tuturor. În cazul în care voi fi dat în judecată pentru calomnie, vă declar că voi prezenta acest text ca probă a nevinovăţiei mele, în respectivul eventual proces, dovedind, punct cu punct, veracitatea afirmaţiilor mele. Mai declar că sunt la curent, domnule judecător, cu datoria de a respecta demnitatea persoanei, a oricărei persoane, şi că sunt obligat, atât de lege, cât şi de bunul simţ, să evit cuvintele şi expresile jignitoare la adresa oricărei persoane, chiar şi a acelora pe care le detest şi le dispreţuiesc din tot sufletul. Îmi dau seama că nu am dreptul să folosesc într‑o publicaţie cuvinte precum "şobolan", "porc", "hoţ", "mafiot", "servitor" sau "slugă", "mediocru", "mincinos", "lacom", "impostor" etc., precum şi orice înjurătură din seria celor pe care bogata noastră limbă română ni le pune la dispoziţie!

Acestea fiind zise, iată ce am de spus.


Dragă Tudorele, ar trebui să îţi fie ruşine că persişti în a păstra funcţia de rector al primei universităţi din ţara noastră, după ce, ca ministru al "justiţiei", te‑ai angajat să le asiguri impunitatea infractorilor de orice tip, mai ales a hoţilor din avutul public, căutând tot felul de tertipuri spre a‑i scăpa de pedeapsa cuvenită, care nu poate fi decât puşcăria. Faci asta îngrădind independenţa justiţiei şi schilodind pe toate căile legile, pe care pretinzi că le cunoşti în calitate de expert! Care expert, Tudorele? Expertiza ta se află la nivelul unui amărât de juristconsult de podgorie, nivel cu care ţi‑ai şi început cariera, ca mărunt activist pecerist. La acelaşi nivel, cred, ai şi rămas! Poţi să te dai peste cap de o mie de ori, să te laşi slăvit cât pofteşti de yesman‑ii cu care ţi‑a plăcut întotdeauna să te înconjori şi să îi asmuţi împotriva mea, vei rămâne pentru totdeauna ce ai fost destinat să fii: un modest notar de ţară, fără orizont, fără cultură, fără lecturi. Ce limbă străină vorbeşti, domʼ profesor, şi câtă latină pricepi, ca jurist? Ai scris cumva la viaţa ta un articol original de zece pagini şi nu am dat eu peste el? Trepăduşii tăi ţi‑au cerut vreodată să prezinţi un articol ISI original, cum ne cer nouă, celorlalţi?

Poţi scrie sau rosti câteva fraze în limba română fără poncife şi expresii răsuflate, mieroase şi tautologice, Tudorele? M‑ai întrebat, îţi aminteşti, imediat după ce te făcuseşi ales rector, pe un hol al Universităţii, dacă, cunoscându‑ne noi de tineri, de pe vremea când organizam admiterea la Facultatea de Drept, "suntem în aceeaşi barcă"! Lipsit de spontaneitatea necesară am bâiguit ceva ambiguu! N‑am îndrăznit să îţi spun că nu te‑am votat şi am suferit când ai ieşit rector al Universităţii a cărei siglă am purtat‑o cu mândrie de zeci de ori în toată lumea! Îţi răspund acum, clar: Nu, nu suntem în aceeaşi barcă! Eu sunt în barca celor care pierd mereu, dar nu îşi pierd speranţa! A celor care mai cred că România poate fi o ţară civilizată! A celor care nădăjduiesc că proştii, neobrăzaţii, impostorii, gregarii, analfabeţii agresivi, asistaţii sociali şi pomanagii vor deveni până la urmă o minoritate şi în ţara noastră! A celor care speră că ziariştii găşcari şi cumpăraţi, politicienii fără tată şi mamă, indivizi cu educaţie sumară sau madame exersate în cea mai veche meserie a maicii Eva, cu un vocabular de o mie de cuvinte, dar cu un tupeu fără limite, profesorii şi medicii, judecătorii, avocaţii sau procurorii corupţi, episcopii simoniaci sau pederaşti, poliţiştii pleşcari şi laşi, ca şi delapidatorii sau afaceriştii veroşi vor dispărea sau îşi vor micşora sămânţa! A celor care simt că înaintaşii noştri, miile de ţărani umili care au înălbit cu oasele lor câmpurile de luptă de la Vaslui, Călugăreni, Mărăşeşti sau Cotul Donului, merită nişte urmaşi mai demni decât noi! A celor pentru care cultura românească, aşa mică cum pare ea, este un edificiu magnific şi fără preţ! A celor învăţaţi de părinţi că nu se cuvinte să furi din avutul altuia, cu atât mai puţin din cel public. A celor care au asimilat lecţia unui fost preşedinte american, care spunea că, înainte de a‑i pretinde ceva, trebuie să te întrebi ce ai dat tu ţării! A celor care şi‑au lăsat fiii şi fiicele să‑şi caute un rost în lumea largă, în loc să‑i "aranjeze" în slujbe, în universitatea noastră, ca pe propria moşie, cum ai făcut‑o tu cu feciorul tău!

Tu însă, după ce ai devenit rector manipulând "cu măiestrie" patimi omeneşti josnice precum lăcomia şi dorinţa de parvenire, te‑ai "autosuspendat" - cine a mai pomenit vreodată aşa ceva?! - ca să te pui în slujba celor care îţi asigură un cumul de pensii neruşinat de mari şi nemeritate, nişte şmecheri şi hoţomani, care, unul, nu este în stare să deprindă cu nici un chip folosirea corectă a prepoziţiei pe ca marcă a acuzativului în română, iar altul, fost student repetent, şi‑a "tras" latifundii întregi, cu bălţi cu tot, într‑unul din cele mai sărace judeţe ale ţării! Pentru ei şi întrega lor haită, a trebuit ca inventivitatea ziariştilor români să producă un nou cuvânt: penali! Nu l‑am iubit deloc pe un Adrian Năstase! Mi‑a fost jenă şi în timpul guvernării lui că în ţara mea nu s‑a putut găsi un prim‑ministru mai bun decât un intelectual pus pe căpătuială. Am ajuns acuma să îl respect cumva pe fostul prim-ministru pentru decenţa de a se fi dus la puşcărie, dacă acesta a fost să fie verdictul unui tribunal.

Revenind la noi doi, Tudorele, simptomul maximei neruşinări a fost pentru mine porunca pe care ai dat‑o ca parcarea din faţa intrării principale să fie blocată, alandala, zi şi noapte, de cele patru microbuze ale Universităţii, numai pentru ca să nu se mai poată apropia nu ştiu ce protestatar care să te conteste! Din nou, ca pe propria moşie! (Aici mă autocenzurez! In petto, a urmat o serie de imprecaţii din repertoriul soldăţesc!) Da, asta a fost picătura care a umplut paharul! Pentru ca ambiţia ta ciocoiască să fie satisfăcută, neputând să parchez civilizat, fie şi la miezul nopţii, a trebuit să car cu spinarea câteva cutii pline cu cărţi!

Sunt convins, Tudorele, că nu îţi va fi deloc ruşine! Nu are de ce să îţi fie ruşine, în raport cu valorile şi criteriile după care ai fost educat şi potrivit inteligenţei şi sensibilităţii cu care ai fost înzestrat! Mie însă mi‑e ruşine! Mi‑e ruşine că Universitatea profesorilor mei şi a mea, care m‑a primit, ca o alma mater, student, în urmă cu 45 de ani, şi pe care am servit‑o neîntrerupt, a încăput pe mâinile unui asemenea rector, nereprezentativ şi nedemn!

Eugen Munteanu este profesor universitar doctor la Facultatea de Litere, Universitatea "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iaşi

Articol preluat de aici.

Stop Turkey’s ‘relentless’ judicial harassment against free expression champions

Stop Turkey’s ‘relentless’ judicial harassment against free expression champions


The AEJ and other journalists’ and press freedom organisations have publicly condemned the Turkish authorities’ three-year long judicial harassment of the RSF representative in Turkey, Erol Onderoglu, and two other press freedom defenders who are due to appear in court on 15 April.


The freedom of expression organisations listed below denounce the lengthy judicial harassment suffered by Reporters Without Borders representative and IPI member Erol Onderoglu, Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation Chair Sebnem Korur Fincanc? and journalist Ahmet Nesin and call for their full acquittal at the hearing on April 15, 2019, when a verdict is expected.

The three defendants are charged with “engaging in propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, “incitement to commit a crime” and “praising criminal activities and those engaged in them” for standing in as guest editors in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” solidarity campaign for the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur Gundem.

We further denounce the ongoing detention and prosecution of scores of journalists in Turkey as an autocratic attempt to silence all dissenting voices and to prevent independent journalists from carrying out their profession.

We offer our support and solidarity to our colleagues Onderoglu, Korur Fincanc? and Nesin, who have been subjected to a trial lasting almost three years, and we call on the Turkish government to cease such oppression of journalists, academics and writers.

“This case is about an act of collegial solidarity that should never have resulted in criminal proceedings. Turkey must cease violating the rights of journalists to disseminate the news and of the public to receive balanced reporting,”, Caroline Stockford, Turkey Advocacy Coordinator at the International Press Institute, said.

"By targeting prominent human rights defenders, the authorities aim to decimate what little remains of civil society in Turkey. They will not succeed. We stand united with our colleagues and insist that this relentless judicial harassment cease," said Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia at ARTICLE 19.

"When the very act of solidarity for repressed journalism is criminalised in Turkey, international solidarity for our colleagues becomes even more crucial.” - Nora Wehofsits, Advocacy Officer at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

"International public opinion should know that Turkey is not merely Erdogan’s Turkey. Like Erol Onderoglu, Sebnem Korur Fincanc? and Ahmet Nesin, there are many people and courageous initiatives that need to be heard about and be supported. This is why providing the international public with continuous and in-depth coverage on Turkey is so important today", Chiara Sighele, OBC Transeuropa.

“We stand united in support of Erol Onderoglu, Sebnem Korur Fincanc? and Ahmet Nesin. We promise that we will do our utmost to support the journalists and to put pressure on the Turkish government to cease the prosecution and detention of journalists“, said Kjersti Loken Stavrum, Vice President of Norwegian PEN.

Ozgur Gundem has long been targeted by Turkish authorities for its journalism. Last month the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Turkey had violated the right to freedom of expression in systematically bringing terrorism-related criminal cases against Ozgur Gundem’s owner, Ali Gurbuz, between 2004 and 2005.



Articolo 21

Association of European Journalists

CRNI (Cartoonists Rights Network International)

CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists)

Danish PEN

ECPMF (European Centre for Press and Media Freedom)

EFJ (European Federation of Journalists)

English PEN

Freedom House

Front Line Defenders

German PEN

IFJ (International Federation of Journalists)

IPI (International Press Institute)

Norwegian PEN

OBC Transeuropa

PEN America

PEN Belgium/Flanders

PEN Canada

PEN Germany

PEN International

PEN Netherlands

P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism)

SEEMO (South East Europe Media Organisation)

Swedish PEN

Wales PEN Cymru


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