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

Roger Morgan: Roger Morgan, a firm friend of the AEJ’s UK section, died on 3 March 2015. See Obituaries (21 May 2015)

EU draft on disclosure of business information: The AEJ has expressed its dismay at amendments to the draft directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information. By restricting disclosure of internal company information, it could hinder investigative journalism into corporate conduct. See aej.org (8 May 2015)

World Press Freedom Day: For a guide to AEJ sections’ events on 3 May, see aej.org (1 May 2015)

Ukrainian journalists murdered: The AEJ has called on the government of Ukraine to investigate the contract-style killing of Oles Buzyna, a pro-Russian, on 16 April. Buzyna was a former editor of Segodyna. Three other killings that call for proper investigation include two journalists and a former MP. See aej.org (20 April 2015)

AEJ concern over abuse of Romanian journalists: The Association of European Journalists has expressed its grave concern about gratuitous verbal abuse and mockery directed against Romanian journalists Stelian Negrea and his wife, Eli Roman, by employees of the Antena 3 TV channel. See aej.org (15 April 2015)

Launch of internet platform on threats to journalists: The Council of Europe’s online reporting facility for threats to journalists and their safety was launched on 2 April. It can be viewed here (scroll down past the photograph). See also News for 28 November 2014, aej.org and Media Freedom (2 April 2015)

Council of Europe resolution on press and journalists: The Parliamentary Assembly adopted a new resolution on 29 January calling on various European countries, including the EU, to remedy violations of press freedom and fulfil their obligations to protect journalists. See aej.org (26 February 2015)

Juraj Alner a Légionnaire d'Honneur: One of our most distinguished colleagues has been granted the order of France's Légion d'Honneur. Juraj Alner has been a journalist and scholar since 1964 but he was excluded from journalism for the 20 years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall for being "anti-Communist". He was General Secretary of the international AEJ in the early 2000s and founder of the Slovak section. The President of France nominated him for his work on European integration and on Slovakia's accession to the EU. See aej.org (5 February 2015)

AEJ condemns barbaric murders in Paris: The AEJ expressed horror at this most bloody attack against French journalists and press freedom. It joined the French Section in expressing its deep condolence and solidarity with the victims' families and Charlie Hebdo's staff. See aej.org (7 January 2015)

AEJ protest against arrests in Turkey: "The Turkish authorities, by carrying out the latest wave of arrests of a large number of journalists, have crossed a line which is rightly seen as 'out of bounds' in any democracy ..." – continue reading on aej.org (17 December 2014)

Khadija Ismailova – AEJ protest: The AEJ has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Khadija Ismailova (for the text see Media Freedom). 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 brought 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)


Latest Briefings

A selection of writings with an AEJ connection

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

William Horsley: Should Europe boldly go into the media battleground? (10 March 2015)

William Horsley: Charlie Hebdo murders mean journalism just got more dangerous (9 January 2015)

Firdevs Robinson: Has Turkey come to the end of its EU journey? (19 December 2014)

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)

 

 

Lunchtime meetings

Meetings are held at the European Parliament’s London Office (Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1) and usually start at 12.30. A fee of £25 is charged to cover the cost of refreshments (special £10 rate for students and journalists under the age of 25).

26 May 2015

Dr Igor Sutyagin

RUSI research fellow, exiled Russian expert on arms control

10 July 2015

Richard Howitt MEP

Member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee

For details, see News. For a list of our recent lunchtime guests, see Past Events.

The EP’s UK website gives details of its own events, of which visitors may be notified by email.


Lords report on EU-UK balance of powers

Reported only by the Guardian and Observer, the House of Lords EU Committee published a report on 25 March concluding that the government had buried its review of the “competences” allocated to the EU and UK by the Lisbon Treaty.

The review resulted in 32 reports examining the allocation of powers in detail, published between July 2013 and December 2014. They were fact-based, drawing on evidence from government, Parliament, experts in the field, academe and stakeholders.

None of them concluded that the transfer of powers to the EU had been “excessive”, although both the review and the report pointed to defects.

As a fact-finding exercise designed to inform both public debate and policy, the review was unprecedented. It is attracting considerable notice elsewhere in the EU. The Lords committee says that the UK government has given the “appearance of burying the review’s excellent output”.

Relevant ministries gave no publicity to the 32 reports and no attempt was made to draw their conclusions together in a way that would make them intelligible to public or government, despite an initial promise to do this. The Lords committee dismisses the Europe Minister’s “hope that some of it eventually percolates through” as wishful thinking.


Best and worst of human rights in 2014

We recommend that those who follow the European Court of Human Rights visit the Strasbourg Observers website. It is the online presence of the Human Rights Centre at Ghent University and comments extensively on the Court's case law.

In the poll it holds each year on the Court's performance, Matúz v Hungary was voted best of the Court's judgments in 2014 and SAS v France, the worst. Matúz reinforced the protection of whistleblowers. SAS relied on the political criterion of what is conducive to living together in a democratic society to legitimise the French ban on wearing a full-face veil in public.


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!


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 EP 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.