(ES) Athens/ Vienna July 21, 2021
Open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, Commission President and Vice-President Vera Jourova
The Israeli security company NSO has sold the perfect weapon for any government wanting to spy on journalists, NGOs, lawyers, and political opponents. As if on cue, NSO is now using the favourite, pseudo-judicial method of Vladimir Putin and others – a SLAPP procedure to suppress the painstaking and shocking investigation of Pegasus by 17 media organisations.
The AEJ notes the plain-speaking headline in today’s Israeli daily Haaretz : “Israel’s NSO and Pegasus Are a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy Around the World”.
The AEJ demands:
₴ An immediate EU-wide ban on the importation or abuse of this form of sinister software.
₴ A thorough official investigation of EU Member States’ use of this and other forms of electronic spying, notably by Hungary.
₴ An effective ban on SLAPPs.
AEJ President Saia Tsouasidou said : “On top of a series of murders of our colleagues – the latest of the great Peter R. De Vries in Holland – the exposure of the Pegasus scandal has to be the point at which Europe gets serious about protecting journalists and free media as essential to our democracies.”
She also endorsed the call by German’s respected Süddeutsche Zeitung over the behaviour of Poland and Hungary “unflinchingly dismantling democracy , unprecedented in the EU since 1945.” The paper said: “Now it is not just money that must be withheld wherever possible. Above all, the democratic, oppositional forces in the country must be strengthened… Hungary is holding elections in the spring of 2022. This could be the last chance for the country in a long time.”
William Horsley, Media Freedom Representative – what must be done