Freedom of Press
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Towards a safer and more free internet
With the Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Union will set the standard for regulating platforms on the net and bring fundamental rights into focus. After the GDPR, it is the next legislative project to set international legal standards. The legal opinion commissioned by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom deals with concrete questions on the effectiveness of the DSA, especially in the area of tension with freedom of communication and in relation to disinformation.
Russia - Journalistic Investigations under attack
For more than 30 years, investigative journalism has been playing a role in Russian society much bigger than it has ever had in traditional emocracies. Gorbachev’s reforms started with Glasnost (‘Openness’), when many journalists became household names. The problem was that there were no standards for that new Russian journalism. This hit Russian journalists badly in the 1990s, when the profession of investigative journalism became very dangerous.
This was exploited by the Kremlin in the 2000s: Putin, the new president did not tolerate any criticism of his actions, and a new narrative was romoted – that independent investigative journalism could not exist, and those journalists were just paid by outside actors to attack the Russian state.
In 2008, the country got a new president, Dmitry Medvedev.
His push for digitalization of government services led to an
unexpected development - new methods of digital investigations emerged, along with new teams and renewed interest
among the general public.
But when Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, the tide turned against journalists. Matters worsened year by year, and 2021 saw the harshest repressions against investigative journalists to days – they were pushed out of profession and out of the country by any means necessary, the most effective tool being the wide and unscrupulous usage of the Foreign Agent Law.
Digital surveillance and and the impact on journalism in Russia
The media environment is getting tougher in Russia and the increasing digital surveillance makes it difficult for journalists to do their job. The two authors Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan describe in their publication the current environment journalists in Russia find themselves in, the surveillance structures of the Russian government and how journalists nevertheless find ways to adjust and protect their privacy by their own means. The recent upsurge in investigative journalism in Russia shows, that these journalists are unwilling to give in to the increasing difficulties and pressure
The Cost of Freedom of Expression in Turkey: 299 Years, 2 Months And 24 Days
The Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) has been running its freedom of expression trial monitoring program since June 2018 in cooperation with numerous international partners. As of September 2022, MLSA has monitored a total of 1042 hearings of 582 trials.
The aim of the program is to record the compliance of domestic courts with the right to a fair trial in cases concerning freedom of expression, the press and the right to assembly. The right to a fair trial has been determined to be an indispensable human right and guaranteed not only by the Constitution of Turkey but also by international covenants and treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The data used in this report were gathered through a standardized trial monitoring form which court monitors fill out following every hearing. The form was prepared in light of the guides and advice shared by several organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Solicitors International Human Rights Group (SIHRG). The monitors whom MLSA cooperates with are court reporters who are not only well versed in the legal jargon, but are also trained and well experienced in monitoring hearings.
Media Freedom in Hungary Ahead of 2022 Election
The report follows a press freedom mission to Budapest between 17-18 February 2022, by the International Press Institute (IPI) in cooperation with the European Dialogue of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, ahead of the general election on 3 April 2022. As part of the mission, board members and IPI staff met with Zoltán Kovács, the government’s international spokesman and secretary of state for international communication and relations, Péter Márki-Zay, the candidate for prime minister for United for Hungary ("Az Emelkedő Magyarország"), an alliance of opposition parties, and Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, in addition to leading editors, journalists, experts and academics. This report contains the key conclusions, selected findings of thematic issues and key recommendations for improving media freedom and pluralism in Hungary after the April 2022 election.
Media Capture in Bulgaria
The report finds that the story of media capture in Bulgaria differs from the classic Hungarian model, whose mechanism of operation is only thinly veiled. The Bulgarian picture is murkier, driven by a lack of information over the ownership and business interests of the key individuals involved in a country with the EU’s highest level of corruption and organized crime, which creates an extra layer of complexity and competing power centres that the media and politicians have found themselves ensnared in. The report was authored by media expert Boryana Dzhambazova and is published as part of IPI’s campaign on media capture. It is organized as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a project which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.
A project by the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Dialogue of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Russian Media in the Balkans
The influence of Russian state-run foreign media on public opinion in Western democracies is now common knowledge – regardless of its political qualification. Well-documented analyses are available, e.g. from the USA, France and Germany. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for member states to adopt strategies against „hostile propaganda“ from Moscow.
The situation in the Balkan peninsula is completely different. Russian media material is most welcome here. The political elite, such as in the largest and most important Balkan country, Serbia, or in the Serbian half of Bosnia and Herzegovina, traditionally maintain close ties with Russia. Since the political elite – above all President Aleksandar Vučić – almost completely control the media landscape, media offerings from Russia are very welcome. Because Serbian printed and electronic media suffers from chronic underfunding, the free information offered by Russia gains even more importance.
At first glance, dealing with the Russian-Serbian media partnership is of little relevance, because the Balkans are not uncommonly relegated as the „backyard of Europe“. However, if you look at South-Eastern Europe from the angle of power politics and security policy, the subject becomes enormously important.
Human Rights Defenders
The large-scale, pro-democracy protest movements of recent years have demonstrated: Individuals take extremely high risks when they campaign for civil and human rights and for free and fair elections in states where human rights are frequently violated. Our publication "Human Rights Defenders" is dedicated to the work of human rights defenders - pro-democracy activists, opposition politicians and their supporters, whose important work continues to go unnoticed too frequently.
Die weltweiten Protestbewegungen in jüngster Zeit haben gezeigt: Menschen gehen ein extrem hohes Risiko ein, sobald sie sich in Staaten, in denen Menschenrechte verletzt werden, für die Achtung von Bürger- und Menschenrechten und freie Wahlen einsetzen. Unsere Publikation „Human Rights Defenders" widmet sich der bisher weniger beachteten Gruppe von Menschenrechtsverteidigern – den Pro-Demokratie-Aktivisten, den Oppositionspolitikerinnen und -politikern sowie ihren Unterstützern
Human Rights Defenders 2022 (ENGLISH)
Human rights lawyers will always be at the forefront of the struggle for fundamental and human rights under the rule of law. Lawyers are the most important profession for denouncing human rights violations and defending human rights.delaying tactics and harassment while representing their clients in court and demanding equal rights.
Human rights lawyers will always be at the forefront of the struggle for fundamental and human rights under the rule of law. This makes it all the more important to consider them as human rights defenders and to support them in their work against governments that are hostile to freedom and have contempt for human rights.
In interviews, Human Rights Defenders report on their work and their courageous fight against governments that are hostile to freedom and despise human rights. With a foreword by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and an outlook by Gerhart Baum.