ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN  JOURNALISTS

UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

The AEJ is active across Europe. Please visit www.aej.org and check AEJ Newsletters to see what it is doing for its members

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Latest News

Olli Kivinen: We are sad to announce the death on 20 July of Olli Kivinen, once foreign editor of Helsingin Sanomat and still a distianguished contributor. He spent the years 1965-70 as the paper's London correspondent. An active member of the AEJ's Finnish Section, he was a forceful defender of press freedom.

Defamation: A report by the International Press Institute reveals that most European countries still punish defamation as a crime. Only Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and the UK have fully decriminalised it, although it is no longer punishable by imprisonment in four. Insulting the symbols of statehood is still punishable in 20 countries and public officials are accorded special protection in 14. (17 July 2014).

Andrew Mango: With great sadness we announce the death on 6 July of Andrew Mango, AEJ member and distinguished scholar on modern Turkey. His funeral is on 14 July at 15:00 in Barnes. Please contact margaret@aej-uk.org for details if you wish to attend. Nevsal Hughes has written his obituary for this website, and Firdevs Robinson has written an appreciation of his scholarship and life in her blog (8 July 2014).

Annual AEJ Congress: This year the Congress and Annual Assembly will be held in Frauenkirchen in Austria's Burgenland on 16-19 October 2014. See Europe (8 July 2014).

Mammadov v Azerbaijan: The European Court of Human Rights handed down a Chamber judgment on 22 May finding four violations in the case of Ilgar Mammadov, director of the Baku School of Political Studies and a blogger. He had been arrested, detained in custody and sentenced to imprisonment, without reasonable suspicion or evidence, for fomenting public disorder. This ruling was issued within two months of his trial. Azerbaijan currently chairs the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers (23 May 2014).

OSCE Safety of Journalists Guidebook: The second edition of this work by William Horsley is now available in English and Russian on the OSCE's website (21 May 2014).

World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2014: Reports on press freedom activities around Europe have been posted on the AEJ's international website:

·        Armenia

·        Croatia

·        Council of Europe (declaration)

·        Romania

·        Slovakia

·        Turkey

·        UK (symposium held on 7 April)

·        UNESCO

Council of Europe on WPFD: The AEJ is gravely concerned that this year has seen a further escalation in the violent repression of journalists’ work and attempts to stifle free speech in many countries. The AEJ took part in an open roundtable meeting of civil society organisations in Strasbourg, hosted by the Council of Europe, on 19 May (aej.org) (28 April 2014).

Peter Greste, imprisoned in Egypt: Peter Greste is one of four al-Jazeera journalists held in Tora prison on spurious charges. Their trial opened on 20 February. Avaaz has launched a petition for his release, already signed by nearly 35,000 people. "Friends of Peter Greste" has been formed on Facebook and now has more than 600 members. They have been privileged to receive his "Letters from Tora Jail" – testimony to his courage and clarity, and a significant document in the history of journalism standing up to state misuse of power. Please sign the petition and/or join the Facebook group (you need to be a subscriber to Facebook yourself). See also William Horsley's article in Blogs & Briefings. (17 February 2014).

Council of Europe enlists AEJ help in protecting journalists: A rapid response mechanism and an internet-based early warning system for journalists facing threats to their safety are among measures announced by the 27 ambassadors of CoE members. The AEJ will be represented on a new committee set up to make the new plans effective. See aej.org (23 January 2014).


Latest Briefings

A selection of writings with an AEJ connection

Firdevs Robinson's writing is now accessible on FirdevsTalkTurkey.com

William Horsley: Pakistani journalist murder attempt flags wider struggle for press freedom (24 April 2014)

Jonathan Fryer: Labour mobility within the EU (4 March 2014)

William Horsley: Jailing of al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt highlights need for new defences (24 January 2014)

William Horsley: An unholy mixture: surveillance, the law and a setback for journalism (30 August 2013)

 

 

Lunchtime meetings

8 September 2014

Fawaz A Gerges

Professor of International Relations at LSE, author and specialist in Middle East affairs

Meetings are held at the European Parliament’s London Office (Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1). A fee of £25 is charged to cover the cost of refreshments (special £10 rate for students and journalists under the age of 25).

The EP’s UK website gives details of its own events, of which visitors may be notified by email. You can see a list of our recent lunchtime guests in Past Events


Petition for Al Jazeera journalists

Please sign Amnesty International's petition for the release of the three Al Jazeera journalists, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who were convicted and sentenced to long jail terms for imaginary crimes on 23 June by a Cairo court.


Liberty petition on Snowden law

Liberty, the human rights NGO, has launched a petition for action against mass state surveillance. It is based on six basic legal principles:

·        no surveillance without suspicion

·        transparent, not secret, laws

·        judicial, not political, authorisation

·        effective democratic oversight

·        the right to redress

·        a secure web for all

Please sign it!


Petition for the Levada Centre

A petition to support this Russian NGO is open for signature. The Levada Centre is a respected independent Russian opinion research organisation. It is one of the academic and NGO organisations being harassed by Russian authorities to register as a "foreign agent" because of receiving funds from abroad.


Media visits to the European Parliament

The EP’s London Office has a small budget to offset some of the travel and hotel costs incurred by journalists when visiting the European Parliament. Only a limited number can be helped in this way, so you must first be invited by the UK Office before seeking reimbursement (see website).

 

 

 

About us

The AEJ is an independent, self-funding association for journalists, writers and specialists in European affairs. The UK section is part of a Europe-wide network of some 20 national sections across Europe, with more than 1000 members in all.

In the UK section, we arrange for leading newsmakers from across Europe to give briefings to us about once a month, over lunch at the office of the European Parliament in London. We also organise special events, such as seminars, from time to time.

The AEJ offers journalists the chance to be part of a network of media professionals and experts on European issues. Membership can provide valuable mutual support for individual journalists (it is open to both UK and non-UK nationals). If you would like to join, please go to the Membership page.

We are not tied to any institutional or political group but are recognised by the Council of Europe, the OSCE and UNESCO. Our goals are to advance knowledge and debate on European affairs and to uphold media freedom.

Internationally, the AEJ has an active programme of professional activities and the annual AEJ Congress is a forum for debate on matters of common concern to journalists across the continent. A high priority is given to the AEJ's Media Freedom Project.


AEJ Media Freedom Project

The AEJ works to protect freedom of expression and independent journalism by bringing issues to the attention of governments and advising inter-governmental organisations on behalf of our members. The AEJ's Media Freedom Representative is William Horsley, a former BBC foreign correspondent and the current chairman of the UK section.

Since the AEJ Media Freedom Survey in 2007 (Goodbye to Freedom?), the AEJ has published Europe-wide surveys that reveal the erosion of press freedom through physical assaults, wrongful imprisonment, oppressive laws, and unacceptable political and commercial pressures.

The AEJ is an observer at the Council of Europe. It actively supports the ongoing efforts of UNESCO, the UN Agency with a mandate to safeguard media freedom, to implement the draft UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity (text). The AEJ Media Freedom Representative authored the OSCE's Safety of Journalists Guidebook setting out the obligations of participating states to protect the security of journalists, including those using the Internet.


AEJ and the Council of Europe

The AEJ takes part in the policy work of the Council of Europe (CoE) on key issues, including journalists' safety and the freedom of the Internet, as a participant in the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society. It works on behalf of its members across Europe to hold the CoE and its 47 member states to their commitments on media freedom and freedom of expression.

To read further, please go to Media Freedom.

Our campaigns and activities can be tracked on the News and Media Freedom pages of the international AEJ website, www.aej.org  See also World Press Freedom Day.