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 https://www.facebook.com/UKinBulgaria/videos/vb.130010333679527/292656051646797/?type=2&theater
“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.
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.
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.”
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.”
ROMANIA AND OTHERS:…
For more information and events and activitie in Romania and the UK, see this AEJ news from 2 May:-