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

AEJ protest against Azerbaijan arrest: The AEJ has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Khadija Ismailova (see right-hand column). A broadcaster with Radio Free Europe, she faces charges of inciting suicide and posting a report on blackmail by the secret service on social media. She was committed to two months' pre-trial detention. (5 December 2014)

Paris Conference: The AEJ took part in an all-day conference in Paris on 4 December on media freedom and the security of journalists. William Horsley presented his Report on Protection of Media Freedom in Europe. It brings the report he prepared in June up to date. The CoE agreement on an early warning system (below) was finalised and details of the online platform announced. See Conference programme (4 December 2014)

Early warning system on attacks against journalists: The AEJ is to be one of four partners of the Council of Europe in setting up a website to act as an alert for all forms of attack on the media. It will go live in the first quarter of 2015. The proposed rapid response mechanism has yet to be agreed. See www.aej.org. (28 November 2014)

2014 AEJ Congress at Neusiedl: The AEJ's 52nd annual congress and assembly was held on 16-19 October in Neusiedl in Austria's Burgenland. Otmar Lahodynsky, European editor of profil, was elected as AEJ President.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz sent a letter of welcome and the congress was opened by Laszló Nagy's account of events in 1989 that eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

One debate was devoted to EU foreign and security policy, and the other to the wrongs done to journalists and the impunity of their persecutors. A resolution was adopted exhorting Europe's governments, the Council of Europe, EU and OSCE to take the necessary action. See also Firdevs Robinson's report, Europe and Media Freedom. (17 October 2014)

Anna Politkovskaya: The AEJ across Europe marked the eighth anniversary of Anna's murder by calling on Russia to investigate the crime effectively, bring all those responsible for the killing to justice, remove barriers to journalists and ensure safe working conditions for them. (7 October 2014)

Council of Europe: William Horsley presented his in-depth report on the protection of media freedom to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on 4 August. It records all violent attacks and official harassment in the last two years. It was first presented in Strasbourg in June 2014. (10 August 2014).

Don Hatwell: With much sadness we have to announce that Don, a great friend of many in the section and its former secretary, died on 29 July at the age of 88. After a lifetime in newspapers, he published his autobiography in 2012 and a collection of his reviews and other writings as recently as February (see AEJ in the UK). See Obituaries for a tribute by Kevin d'Arcy. (30 July 2014).

Olli Kivinen: Olli Kivinen, once foreign editor of Helsingin Sanomat and still a distinguished contributor, died on 20 July. 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 (25 July 2014).

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. Nevsal Hughes has written his obituary for this website, Jonathan Fryer for the Guardian and Firdevs Robinson for Firdevs Talks Turkey (8 July 2014).


Latest Briefings

A selection of writings with an AEJ connection

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

Nick Hopkinson: Building bridges for a successful campaign to stay in the EU. European Movement conference report (25 November 2014)

Kevin d'Arcy: Review of Reporting the EU, by John Lloyd and Cristina Marconi, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (3 November 2014)

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

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).

16 February 2015

Pat McFadden MP, Shadow Minister for Europe

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


Rory Peck Awards 2014

The winners of these prizes, awarded on 19 November, were:

·        News – Pacôme Pabandji for CAR: Descent into Chaos (AFPTV)

·        Features – Team Minduelle for North Korea: Life inside the Secret State (Channel 4 Dispatches)

·        Sony Impact Award – Ben Steele for Hunted (Channel 4 Dispatches)

Khaled Abu Ghali, a Palestinian freelance journalist, was awarded the Martin Adler Prize for his coverage of conflict


Metadata reveal journalists' sources

UK legislation does not protect the identity of journalists' sources from disclosure to the police and others when it is gleaned from metadata stored by the security services. Unlike the contents of any messages sent, the number or address may be disclosed without a warrant or special authority. This violates human rights law (the Goodwin case).

Please sign the petition to the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Anthony May. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.


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!


Translation service

A service called T4J, Translators for Journalists, gives access to foreign online journalism for the media, enabling them to follow news for which they lack the resources themselves.

On offer are translations of professional journalism in 67 languages by linguists based in 181 countries. They only translate into their mother tongue and their fees are set according to local scales. Articles on media freedom are translated for a token fee.

T4J's service could help small-scale media to enlarge their range at an affordable cost. It appears to be new and no comment is yet available online.

The service obtains the copyright owner's consent, reminding freelance journalists that it is prudent, wherever possible, not to surrender the copyright in their work.


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).

 

 

 

Khadija Ismailova

AEJ statement on her arrest in Azerbaijan

The AEJ expresses outrage at the arrest of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova, who was sentenced to 2-month pre-trial detention on Friday. 

Khadija Ismailova, a broadcaster with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani Service, was detained on charges of inciting a person to commit suicide, which could carry a prison sentence of up to seven years if she is convicted. She has also been charged in a separate case with posting a document on social media accusing the Azerbaijani secret services of blackmailing an opposition activist.

One day before her sentencing in the latter case, Azerbaijan’s Presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Aliyev has accused Ms Ismailova of treason. He also accused employees of RFE/RL of spying.

Khadija Ismailova’s arrest is the latest and most chilling attempt by the Azerbaijani authorities to silence her through intimidation and harassment.  In 2012 an intimate video, secretly recorded in her bedroom, was released to the official media and a coordinated smear campaign was mounted against her. In October this year she was prevented from travelling abroad to attend an international conference in Prague. On 19 November she was prevented from testifying at a US congressional hearing on “Combatting Corruption in the OSCE region”.  No legal or official explanation was given for her travel ban.

As one of the most outspoken critics of persistent human rights violations in Azerbaijan, Khadija Ismailova  has investigated and reported extensively on the forceful repression of civil society organisations and on the business interests of leading political figures in the country.

The AEJ utterly condemns this blatant attempt to silence one of the last remaining free and critical voices in Azerbaijan, and calls on the government to release her immediately and unconditionally.


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.