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AEJ President’s open letter on Pegasus scandal

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Text of AEJ President

Saia Tsaousidou‘s open letter to EU Commission President von der Leyen and Vice-President Vera Jourova

Athens, July 24, 2021

Dear President von der Leyen and Vice-President Jourova,

This letter is to ask you to impose an immediate EU-wide ban on the importation or abuse of Pegasus and other similar forms of sinister software;

to order a thorough official investigation of EU Member States’ use of this and other forms of electronic spying, notably by Hungary; and

to make an effective ban on SLAPPs.

I must tell you that on top of the series of murders of our colleagues – the latest one the killing of the great Peter R. De Vries in Holland – the AEJ sees the exposure of the Pegasus scandal as the point at which Europe must get serious about protecting journalists and free media as essential to our democracies.

It is also time that the behaviour of Poland and Hungary in shamelessly dismantling democracy was properly sanctioned. It is not just a matter of stopping the flow of EU taxpayers’ money. The democratic, oppositional forces in both countries, essential in any democracy, must be strengthened. I am not alone in fearing that Hungary’s elections next spring could really be a last chance for that country. If such flagrant abuses of basic freedoms are allowed to continue there and notably (but not only) in Poland that may be a crucial moment for us all, and for the kind of Europe most Europeans value and wish to live in.

With my best wishes for your great endeavours,

Isaia Tsaousidou

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