AEJ condemns killing of British MP: Jo Cox, the MP for Batley
and Spen, was killed on June 16 in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
The Association of European Journalists condemns the murder of the
41-year-old Labour Member of the British Parliament who was shot and killed
in her Yorkshire constituency. Jo Cox had reportedly received threats of
violence before the deadly attack. Such acts of extreme violence can have a
chilling effect on the robust exchange of arguments, opinions and information
which are the essence of open democratic societies. The UK media as well as
political parties have rightly agreed to temporarily suspend the EU
referendum campaign as a sign of respect to Ms Cox,
who was a wife, a mother of two young girls, and a newly-elected MP respected
for her integrity, tolerance and compassionate concern for the plight of
Syrian refugee children. Remembering the death of the leading Swedish
politician Anna Lindh in 2003, we deeply regret that a woman politician has
again been murdered during an EU-related referendum campaign. Jo Cox’s
death, at the height of a fiercely-fought and sometimes aggressive campaign before
next week’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the European
Union, reminds us of the importance of tolerance and rationality as well as
passion in the conduct of public life, and in the reporting and debating of
controversial matters in all kinds of media.
Hampton: Sadly, Celia Hampton, our long-time secretary, treasurer and website
editor, passed away on May
17 after a protracted illness.
Celia was a friend and colleague to many AEJ members and will be
hugely missed. She contributed an enormous amount to the AEJ in both
the UK and internationally and despite
increasing frailty and ill health she continued to write regularly on her
specialty legal matters. But finally she succumbed to the pulmonary illness
which dogged much of her life in recent years. Her funeral took place
in London on Tuesday May 31. Please see our Obituaries section
for more information and personal recollections.
World Press Freedom Day: A number of AEJ national sections marked
World Press Freedom Day on May 3 as reported on www.aej.org Several sections
produced reports and the
AEJ Turkey took part as a member of the G-9 Platform, Freedom for Journalists
The 2016 World Press Freedom Day conference in Helsinki on May 2-4 was marked
by a clamour
of voices calling on Europe to recognise its
own failings. William Horsley, AEJ UK Chairman and International AEJ
Representative for Media Freedom, has these
reflections on the issues.
AEJ Greece awards Journalism Prize to
Peter Kramer: The prize, made by the Greek section of the AEJ, was
awarded to Peter Kramer, former AEJ Secretary-General. It was presented by HE
Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic, on 20
April. Congratulations to Peter, a great friend of ours. See www.aej.org and europeanbusinessreview.eu
(1 May 2016)
Azerbaijan’s prosecution of Meydan TV journalists: International criticism is
mounting against the prosecution of 15 journalists, including Khadija Ismailova and Shyrin Abassov, for tax evasion and illegal enterpreneurship.
They were working for Meydan TV, an independent
online media outlet based in Berlin but with a local news bureau. See www.aej.org (29
Turkey’s exclusion of foreign
journalists: A growing number of foreign journalists are being denied
entry, banned from entering the country or deported. GOP, the Turkish Freedom
for Journalists Platform to which AEJ Turkey belongs, has lodged a protest.
See www.aej.org (26 April
AEJ hails new commitments on
journalism: The AEJ welcomed the new set of political commitments to
protect journalism and the safety of journalists adopted by the Council of
Europe on 13 April. See www.aej.org,
the text of the recommendation
and the Council of Europe press
release. (14 April 2016)
AEJ protests against Turkey’s
seizure of Zaman:
The AEJ publicly denounced
the seizure by Turkish authorities of the Zaman newspaper on 4 March (see below right). That evening,
Turkey’s Freedom for
Journalists Platform united in condemning the government’s coup:
“Such acts are not seen in democracies.” The Platform includes
the AEJ. (10 March 2016)
Concern over Romania’s public
broadcasting: A hasty
reform of the legislation governing the heavily indebted public sector
broadcasting organisation has raised AEJ concerns.
(10 March 2016)
EU to examine Poland’s
highest court: The European Commission announced a preliminary assessment
of the rule of law in Poland in light of the changes made to the
Constitutional Court’s statute. While well aware of the media law and
its potential to erode legal freedoms, the priority is to ensure that the
judicial system is capable of enforcing the law. (13 January 2016)
Polish media law signed: President
Andrzej Duda signed the media bill into law on 7
January. Thorbjørn Jagland,
Secretary General of the Council of Europe, had asked President Duda to open
a dialogue with the Council on article 10 ECHR before signing it. See aej.org. Die Presse has published the
AEJ’s open letter to the Polish President. See aej.org. (11 January 2016)
AEJ protest against Polish law:
A summary by the
AEJ Media Freedom Representative. (5 January 2016)
Europe’s press freedom record in
2015: A survey
by Politico’s Alex Spence catalogues the arrests, assaults, murders and
legal restraints suffered by Europe’s journalists in 2015. “An
awful year.” See aej.org
(31 December 2015)
Media rally against violence: An international
declaration was published calling on governments to take decisive action
to end murders and violent attacks directed at journalists. It was proposed
by the IPI and backed by many in or representing the media, including the
AEJ. See aej.org (9
Meeting with David McAllister:
Those who missed this meeting on 4 December may find Laurence Peter’s Germany
warns UK on rules for EU migrants for BBC News and Jonathan
wants Britain in the EU of interest. (5 December 2015)
A selection of writings with an AEJ connection
Fryer, also an AEJ member of long standing, writes a blog
Firdevs Robinson's writing is now accessible on FirdevsTalkTurkey.com
William Horsley blogs on BBC
William Horsley: Two-and-a-half cheers for the
UK’s Freedom of Information Act. From the Commonwealth Journalists
Association Newsletter (8 April 2016)
William Horsley: Re-living the Warsaw Uprising: a
film for all seasons. A review of Portrait of a
Soldier (18 January 2016)
Anthony Robinson: Corruption
and the long arm of Moscow in central Europe. Blog from the AEJ Congress in Sibiu,
Romania: 6-7 November 2015
(10 November 2015)
are held at the European Parliament’s London Office (Europe House, 32
Smith Square, SW1P 3EU) and usually start at 12:30. A fee of £25 is
charged to cover the cost of refreshments (free admission may be extended to
students on a discretionary basis).
11 July 2016
Minister for Digital Affairs in the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance
speakers’ details, see News.
See also a note about our meeting on 15 April with Lord Lamont. For a list of our
recent lunchtime guests, see Past
EP’s UK website gives details of its own events, of
which visitors may be notified by email.
AEJ protest against Zaman seizure
On [4 March] the Turkish
authorities seized the Istanbul headquarters offices of Zaman, Turkey’s largest circulation newspaper and one of
the most outspokenly critical voices in the Turkish media. The action was
taken on the basis of a court decision which failed to provide any proper
evidence to justify taking the newspaper into forced administration. The
Association of European Journalists (AEJ) condemns this blatant attack on
press freedom. The authorities‘ abuse of Turkey’s anti-terrorism
laws to brand the work of journalists and otherr critical voics as assisting
terrorism is absurd and must be ended at once.
The Turkish government’s actions in arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning
dozens of journalists, and interfering in the management and editorial
policies of media organisaions, contradict Turkey’s international
commitments and undermines its claims to be considered as a democracy.
The seizure of the premises of Zaman with the use of massive police force came only three days
before [the 7 March] EU leaders‘ summit with Turkey. The AEJ expects
the European Union and the governments of its member states to forcefully
condemn the seizure of Zaman and to
demand that Turkey should stop the widespread judicial harassment and other
attacks on press freedom, free all members of the media wrongly held in
detention, and drop the ongoing criminal cases against numerous editors and
Lahodynsky, AEJ President
Macak, AEJ Secretary General
William Horsley, AEJ
Vice-President and Representative for Media Freedom
Petition: "President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan: Condemn Turkey's crackdown on press freedom" – please
Portrait of a Soldier
Horsley has written a review
of this film about the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, premiered on 14 January at
the Polish Embassy in London.
hour long, the film is based on the recollections of Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, a veteran of the Uprising. It presents
rarely seen archive footage and sets it against the backdrop of her powerful
film is available on DVD and as a download from Journeyman
Media visits to the European Parliament
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 EP website).
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.
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
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. Since 2 April 2015, it has been one of the
five partners in the Council’s online platform for early
warning of and rapid response to attacks on the media. For more information,
see Media Freedom.
AEJ 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.
campaigns and activities can also be tracked on the Media Freedom and News pages of the international AEJ
AEJ and the Council of Europe
AEJ takes part in the policy work of the Council of Europe (CoE) on
key issues of media freedom as a participant in the Steering
Committee on Media and Information
Society and the Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and the Safety
of Journalists. 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.
read further, please go to Media Freedom.