Gmanatwest  

 

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

HOME

AEJ IN UK

NEWS/EVENTS

PAST EVENTS

AEJ IN EUROPE

MEDIA FREEDOM

EUROPE DIARY

CONTACT

MEMBERSHIP

BLOGS & BRIEFINGS

NEWS ARCHIVE

INT'L AEJ NEWS

SURVEY

LINKS

 

OBITUARIES

UK MEETINGS

UK PROCEDURES

INT'L WEBSITE

WPF DAY

 

 

 

Brexit

Stopping Brexit

Lord Andrew Adonis says it's time to stop Brexit. The Labour peer and former minister for education and for transport offers even odds on reversing the current political process to exit the European Union. Now chair of the UK Infrastructure Commission, Lord Adonis says the next 18 months are crucial. For more on his analysis to the AEJ-UK on Nov.9 2017 please see this report from AEJ member and former FT correspondent Peter Norman.

 

Brexit will not happen

- says Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats and now the party's leading elder statesman.  As recently as July, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon - Liberal Democrat leader from 1988 to 1999 and a bitter opponent of Brexit - expected Brexit to take place.  But now he has changed his mind and thinks Brexit will not happen.  Speaking to the AEJ's lunchtime meeting on 12 October 2017, he painted a grim picture of a dysfunctional UK government that is incapable of negotiating a satisfactory withdrawal from the EU and which could collapse next year. By a narrow margin, he believes Britain will stay in the EU but retreat from an active international role and lose global influence. Drawing on his many and varied experiences as a Royal Marine, intelligence officer, diplomat, politician and international administrator, Lord Ashdown also commented on a range of international issues in this "most dangerous, volatile and frightening age" of his lifetime. Please see this summary of his remarks from AEJ member and former FT correspondent Peter Norman.

 

Article 50 can be stopped or revoked

The author of Article 50, Lord John Kerr of Kinlochard, says negotiators for both the UK and the EU have made fundamental mistakes and become mired in public disagreements. And he warned of a "precipice" in the UK's relations with the EU if the talks end without agreement. At a meeting of the AEJ UK on September 15 2017 he also said there is nothing in the law to prevent the UK from changing its mind and stopping or revoking the process of UK exit from the EU. It's by no means the first time he's said this but at the AEJ UK meeting he spelled out his analysis of the Brexit process in forensic detail. A former head of the UK Foreign Office and a cross-bench (independent) peer since 2004, Lord Kerr has emerged as a severe critic of the UK government's approach to Brexit. He has called for a halt to the Brexit process and a national debate in the UK to think again about leaving the EU, previously describing the UK government's actions since the referendum as "a completely wasted year while the Tories negotiated with themselves". See this detailed report by AEJ UK chairman William Horsley and an audio recording of the meeting.

Known in Brussels as a wily and effective negotiator, Lord Kerr held senior posts in the UK Treasury as well as the Foreign Office. He was UK ambassador to the EU and the U.S. before taking the top Foreign Office job in 1997. In 2002/3, after retiring as a UK diplomat, he was secretary general to the European Convention, where he drafted the EU exit clause that became Article 50. For more on his recent positions please see:
http://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-article-50-lord-kerr-john-kerr/

http://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-john-kerr-uk-eu-have-both-made-blunders-says-article-50-author/

UK parliament debates EU repeal law
On 12 September 2017 the House of Commons narrowly voted to allow more debate on the massive "repeal bill" to incorporate EU laws into UK legislation. The vote was 326 to 290. The government's proposed law will now be examined in committee hearings and is expected to face a raft of intensive questions and amendments before further examination in the House of Lords. Critics in both the opposition parties and the Conservative party say Prime Minister Theresa May's government is using the bill as a power grab - giving themselves powers to avoid parliamentary scrutiny and implement laws simply be decree.
The UK and EU began historic talks on June 19 2017 over British plans to leave the EU. Please see these links for more:
http://www.politico.eu/article/uk-eu-begin-brexit-talks/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-19/brexit-talks-begin-with-u-k-in-turmoil
http://www.politico.eu/article/whos-who-in-the-brexit-talks/

MPs face rising levels of abuse and threats
A survey by the BBC has confirmed growing levels of abuse and death threats to MPs. This issue was sadly highlighted by the killing of Jo Cox, the  MP for Batley and Spen, on June 16 2016 n Birstall, West Yorkshire.  The Association of European Journalists issued a statement condemning 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. The AEJ said 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.
On Nov. 23
2016 Thomas Mair, a 53-year-old unemployed gardener, was sentenced to prison for the rest of his life for the murder.  He had shot the MP twice in the head and once in the chest with a sawn-off  hunting rifle before stabbing her 15 times. At the sentencing hearing the judge described Ms. Cox as "passionate, open-hearted, inclusive and generous" and a true patriot while the murderer "affected to be a patriot". The judge  explained: "It is evident from your internet searches that your inspiration is not love of country or your fellow citizens, it is an admiration for Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds."

Theresa May's election gamble backfires
The newspaper headlines said it all on the morning after the 2016 UK election. Prime Minister Theresa May lost 13 seats and in the coming months possibly her own job. She was forced to lose her two long-time key advisers who designed the Conservative election manifesto, ran her office and in effect her management of the government for the last year, leaving her even more vulnerable to pressures inside her party. Her Conservative party won the largest number of seats in Parliament - 318 - but lost its Parliamentary majority. So she has the opportunity to form a new government but faces anger and opposition inside her own party and minimal likelihood of much support from outside it. The result raises questions not only about Mrs. May's own future but also about the stability of the UK government, its ability to negotiate Brexit, and its very competence to govern. If this new Conservative government fails to work then it is possible that the leader of the next largest party, Jeremy Corbyn of Labour, will be asked to form a government. A number of Labour policies have been echoed by nearly all the other opposition parties but even if all of their MPs joined an alliance they would still not have an overall majority. No single party in this Parliament has an overall majority - more seats than all other parties combined -quaintly called in the UK a "hung Parliament". In many other countries it is simply known as a minority government which can often govern for significant amounts of time with or without formal coalitions. Many commentators are expecting another election long before the current statutory 5 years. For the moment Mrs. May has said she will work with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party which won 10 seats in the UK Parliament. Most observers do not expect this to work for long - the DUP is a socially conservative party with positions on abortion, gay rights and climate change that are inconsistent with UK law, has close historical ties to the Protestant community, and is a key partner in the Northern Ireland peace agreement in which the UK government is supposed to be a neutral arbiter.
Read more on the election?

UK Parliament votes for Brexit
It was less than a month before the election call that Mrs. May's government won a complex political struggle in Parliament over launching its countdown to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May's letter formally triggering Article 50 was hand delivered to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, on March 29 2017. It begins a historic two-year negotiation that would end 40 years of integration with the rest of Europe - and will rock the foundations of both the European Union and the United Kingdom.
For more on the Brexit vote and background information please see here.

The French election
was a recipe for uncertainty even just 2 weeks before the vote said political scientist and columnist Dominique Moisi. He said the presidential election was the most unpredictable and most important that he could remember in a lifetime of observing and analysing French politics and international affairs. At the AEJ UK on 6 April 2017, Moisi said that if Brexit is likely to damage the EU then a victory for Marine le Pen and her far-right Front National would be far worse. For more on Moisi's outline of the French election campaign please see this report from AEJ member Quentin Peel, this audio transcript of Moisi's presentation and following questions and answers, and Moisi's own recent article.

 

AEJ plugs into reaction in Europe
As the UK government was launching its exit from the European Union, the AEJ plugged into a chorus of discordant voices at the European Parliament in Brussels. AEJ journalists met with MEPs from all parts of Europe and all the political groups for 2 days of lively debates in the run-up to the UK's delivery of its `Brexit letter' on March 29 2017. The event took place as the EU sailed into unknown territory beyond its 60th birthday and the UK prepares its own lifeboat to disembark from the mother ship. AEJ UK chairman William Horsley has this detailed report on a range of European voices.
And AEJ UK member Tony Robinson has these "personal musings" on the EU and its future after his participation in the European Parliament seminar with AEJ journalists from across Europe.

 

Brexit and globalisation

Donald Trump's advisers are "stuck in the dark ages" and the UK government of Theresa May has yet to "get real" about Brexit says the man dubbed the high priest of globalisation. Jim O'Neill is the former chief economist of Goldman Sachs who coined the term BRICs in 2001 for the rising economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China; a former Treasury minister in David Cameron's Conservative government; and one of the world's pre-eminent proponents of globalisation. He says the populist politics of Brexit and Donald Trump are hostile to further growth and out of sync with world economic trends. Despite much of the political rhetoric surrounding both Trump and Brexit - and from other political leaders - he says world economic growth is not slowing, noting that in this decade it is in line with performance in the 1980s and 1990 and "not as weak as often perceived" by western leaders. For more on his
nuanced and informed briefing to the AEJ UK on March 13 2017 please see this report on the meeting from AEJ member and former FT correspondent Peter Norman; and here for an audio transcript of Lord O'Neill's remarks and following questions and answers. And for more of his comments on Brexit see this report on Politico.
On the wider issue of globalisation, Lord O'Neill of Gatley has recently been arguing in articles and on a BBC radio series for a re-examination and urging business leaders to address issues which have left vast numbers of industrial workers and regions in the western world reeling and disaffected.


Brexit and cultural revolution
One of Britain's foremost constitutional experts says last year's referendum vote for Brexit shows that Britain is a totally different country from its continental neighbours. At a meeting of the AEJ UK on Feb.15 2017 Vernon Bogdanor, a historian and constitutional adviser to a number of governments around the world, explained the vote as the result of a long-simmering cultural revolt. In a wide ranging interpretation of the Brexit vote and its ramifications Prof. Bogdanor also said that it endangers stability in Northern Ireland; Leave voters are likely to suffer most from the consequences of Brexit; current political leaders in England are deceived about the deal they can reach; and there is still a possibility that the Brexit process can be aborted. For more on this meeting please see this report from AEJ UK Chairman William Horsley. Prof. Bogdanor is research professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History at King's College London, and former professor of government at Oxford University and senior tutor and vice-principal at Brasenose College. He was awarded a CBE for services to constitutional history in 1998 and is a Fellow of the British Academy.

 

Scottish Brexit
Alex Salmond and two of his Scottish National Party MPs provided a preview of SNP plans on Brexit as they treated us to one of the more memorable meetings of 2016 on Nov. 29. While the former First Minister of Scotland  was trapped in a broken-down Heathrow Express and running late, his two MPs - Stephen Gethins and   

Tasmina Ahmed-Shah - valiantly tried for 45 minutes to answer a barrage of questions about their plans for dealing with Brexit. When Salmond arrived he brought both calm and some clear answers on SNP strategy: a desire to stay in the EU, retention of  trading and economic relationships in Europe, and as necessary a referendum on independence for Scotland. His clarity came weeks ahead of the official SNP blueprint released on Dec. 20 by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, setting out in detail how the SNP believes the Scottish vote on the EU in/out referendum should be respected.  For more on this enlightening - and entertaining - meeting  please see these notes from AEJ members David Lennon and Rick Thompson.

 

Brexit Trumped
For one  - of many - analyses of the connection between the election of Donald Trump and Brexit please see here for a European perspective. And here is a quick survey of media coverage of his victory on Nov. 8 2016.

AEJ UK member and former FT correspondent Anthony Robinson has these reflections on the world post Trump and post Brexit - from the AEJ congress as well as the Brexit campaign just last June.

 

Brexit dominates AEJ congress
Perhaps unsurprisingly the issue of Brexit was on every delegate's mind and their lips at the AEJ's 2016 Congress in Kilkenny in southeastern Ireland on 4 -6 November - and in reporting of the event. The congress debated Brexit and the rise of demagoguery, the threat to journalism in a brave new media world, and talk of a so-called `post-truth era', under the overall theme of `The changing face of Europe and its media'. William Horsley, AEJ Vice President and Media Freedom Representative, has this account of the highly charged discussions.

Press coverage focussed on Brexit at the AEJ meeting can be found here:
Stephen Collins Irish Times

Miriam Lord irish Times

Colm Kelpie and Cormac McQuinn The Independent

Also here and in these three articles from the Austria Press Agency were written by Thomas Karabaczek, president of the Austrian section, and quoted in Austrian dailies (edited translation via Google)

On another subject discussed at the Kilkenny congress see this article by Bruce Clark in The Economist on threats to media freedom in the Balkans.

 

Former prime minister of Finland and EU insider on Brexit

Alexander Stubb told another packed AEJ-UK meeting he believes Brexit is lose-lose for both the UK and the rest of the EU. And to avoid further damage the former finance minister and leader of Finland's centre-right National Coalition Party has his own blueprint for a "soft Brexit". William Horsley made these notes on his ideas discussed on 19 Sept 2016. Before stepping down as finance minister and party leader, Stubb served Finland as trade and Europe Minister, foreign minister, MEP and adviser to EU Commission President Romano Prodi.

 

Retired senior UK civil servant and trade negotiator on Brexit

Sir Simon Fraser, former permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, provided an insider's view of Brexit at one of the largest AEJ-UK meetings in recent years. The 5 Sept. 2016 lunch meeting was packed with members and invited foreign correspondents to hear and question Sir Simon on the details, complications and issues involved in the upcoming process of UK extraction from the European Union. For more on this meeting please see this blog by AEJ member Jonathan Fryer and this report by BBC News. Sir Simon retired in July 2015 after a long career with the FCO including secondment to the European Commission; he is now managing partner at business consultancy Flint Global.

French Minister Axelle Lemaire on Brexit
A French government minister provided the AEJ UK with a stark and critical assessment of the UK referendum campaign, the UK government's post-vote strategy, and future prospects for both the UK and the rest of Europe.
Axelle Lemaire, Minister for Digital Affairs in the French Ministry for the Economy and Industry since April 2014, spoke in July at the AEJ UK's first meeting since the referendum vote in which the British public voted 52% to 48% to leave the EU.
UK chairman William Horsley made these notes of an animated and informative exchange on July 14, Bastille Day, 2016.


Latest Briefings

A selection of AEJ-related writings and activities

Kevin d'Arcy, former AEJ UK secretary, has just published a new book "Adventures in the Gardens of Democracy"

Long-time AEJ member - and journalist, author and politician - Jonathan Fryer has been appointed Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman for London. Please see his blog here.

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

William Horsley blogs on BBC Academy

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)

 

Lunchtime meetings

Meetings are held at the European Parliament's London Office (Europe House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P 3EU) and usually start at 12:30. AEJ meetings are open to journalists, academics and Europe specialists and guests. Pre-registration is necessary by email to margaret@aej-uk.org. A fee of £25 is charged to cover the cost of refreshments - £10 for under-25s and free admission may be extended to students on a discretionary basis.

17 January 2018

Sergei Guriev

Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
This will be from 1245pm,  after the AEJ-UK Annual General Meeting at 1100.

 

For previous speakers' details and 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.


Latest News

The AEJ and fake news
Fake news and attempts to undermine media credibility were the main topics at the AEJ's 2017 Congress in Vilnius, Lithuania. The congress continued the debate from last year on threats to journalism in what some call a post-truth era. For more on the congress please see this report from AEJ UK chairman and international vice president on media freedom William Horsley and more on

the AEJ International site. Please see below for audio transcripts of the discussions:

 

Panel: Russian financed/controlled disinformation campaigns
Panelists: Dalia Bankauskaite - media program director Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis, Brian Whitmore - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nerijus Maliukevicius - infowars expert, Marius Laurinavicius - senior expert at Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis
Also please see this article by Jonathan Fryer, AEJ member and Liberal Democrat London spokesman.
And for a historical perspective on disinformation see this program from the BBC which explores the parallels between recent Russian state interference in other countries and covert British activity during the second world war.

 

Panel: Media issues in Lithuania related to Europe
Panelists: Dainius Radzevicius - president Lithuanian Journalists Union, Audrone Nugaraite - associate professor Vytautas Magnus University, Ruslanas Irzikevicius - editor-in-chief Lithuanian Tribune,  Audrius Baciulis - journalist Delfi.lt

 

Safety of Female Journalists Online - Jennifer Adams OSCE Media Freedom Project Officer

 

Escalation of  Post-Truth in the Nordics and Baltics - Mikko Salo, Faktabaari Finland

 

Panel: Fact-finding, media pluralism and editorial integrity
Panelists: William Horsley AEJ vice president for media freedom, Mikko Salo, Liepa Zelniene - journalist at 15min.lt, Irina Nedeva – senior editor Bulgarian Radio and Television, Llewellyn King - executive producer and host of  White House Chronicle

 

Big or Thick data? Journalism in times of personalized and data-driven user experience
AEJ's Lieven Taille interviews Dutch journalist and media expert Geert -Jan Boogaerts, head of the Future Media Lab

 

Roger Broad
It is with enormous sadness that the AEJ UK learnt of the death of Roger Broad. He passed away on Aug. 17 2017 from complications following heart surgery.  He was a founder member of the British section of the AEJ in 1968 while he was the European Commission's press officer in London. Roger is believed to have been the oldest surviving active member of the AEJ UK and a witty, wise, loyal and active member of the Section throughout who will be hugely missed by all who knew him as a wonderful colleague and friend. For a look at his remembrances of the birth of the AEJ UK please see here. Just last year he released his latest book "Volunteers and Pressed Men", an account of how Britain raised its forces in the 20th century's two world wars, an account that questioned the extent to which Britain really "stood alone" - given the millions of soldiers throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth who fought both voluntarily and under conscription. For more details see here. And see his own short version of how to get published here.
Kevin d’Arcy notes that Roger was "one of our nicest, most positive and valuable members" who "reappeared soon after I became the section secretary. This was extremely lucky for us, as the contacts he had developed in Brussels, Strasbourg and Whitehall proved essential to raising support for the AEJ generally, but especially for the annual congress which I had offered to organise in London in 1992. Luckily, we managed to form an organising committee with a impressive flex of muscle, including Roger, the younger Paul Hodgson (then our chairman) and Gerry Mansell, former director of the BBC World Service. Roger, thank goodness, agreed to become our section’s first treasurer, thus removing the care of cash away from my function of spending it. Roger said afterwards that this was probably not only the biggest, but also the first ever congress not to show a loss… Which showed just how valuable he was."

 

AEJ French Section protests against Polish government pressure on journalist 
The French Section of the AEJ has vigorously protested against attempts by Polish state TV to pressure Dorota Bawolek, Brussels correspondent of the independent Polsat TV channel, over her questioning of the latest moves by the Polish government to take political control of the country's judiciary. Read the full release from the AEJ French section: http://ajefrance.fr/?p=423

AEJ welcomes new OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
The Association of European Journalists has welcomed the appointment of Harlem Desir, a former French minister for European Affairs and president of SOS Racisme, as the OSCE's new Representative on Media Freedom.  For the announcement please see here.

AEJ joins Turkish opposition march for justice
On June 17 
2017 AEJ Honorary Vice Chair and Turkey Representative L. Dogan Tilic joined an opposition march for justice. Turkey's main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. began his march from Ankara to Istanbul following the arrest of Enis Berberoglu, an MP of his Republican People's Party (CHP) and former editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Hurriyet.

 Helmut Kohl
The man who saw the reunification of Germany and himself as the master builder of a united Europe died on 16 June 2017. AEJ-UK chair William Horsley was the BBC's Germany correspondent in the 1990s and had these reflections - broadcast on the BBC's From Our Own Correspondent (at 6:22 in)- as the UK starts to leave Europe.

Cyber Wars
Thomas Rid, Professor in Security Studies at the War Studies Department of Kings College London, talked about "Hacks, Leaks and Dirty Tricks" at an AEJ-UK lunch on 15 June 2017. He spoke off the record under Chatham House rules about disinformation attacks by nations. For more you can see his blog and this article last year about how "Russia pulled off the biggest election hack in U.S. history".

AEJ and World Press Freedom Day
In the UK, AEJ UK chairman and international vice president William Horsley joined a panel debate focussed on women who risk their lives to report government abuse, civil conflict and religious intolerance in difficult regions of the world. The debate on May 3 2017 was sparked by the first screening in the UK of `Velvet Revolution', which tells the powerful stories of six women journalists from the Philippines to Syria and Azerbaijan. The film's executive producer, Indian journalist and film maker Nupur Basu, and Rebecca Vincent, director of the London bureau of Reporters Without Border, were among the speakers at Senate House, headquarters of the University of London, and hosted by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in cooperation with the Commonwealth Journalists Association.
Please also see this article by William on the growing infiltration and takeover of media houses by state interests and others for dubious purposes.
For more on the AEJ and other media freedom organizations' activity to mark World Press Freedom Day across Europe please see AEJ International website. Annual reports from media monitoring organisations show a further steep decline in media freedom and protection for journalists.  

Survey reveals widespread intimidation of journalists in both eastern and western Euope
The Council of Europe has published the results of the first large-scale survey of journalists across Europe. More than two-thirds of the 940 journalists taking part said they had experienced physical assaults, intimidation or harassment on account of their work in the past three years.  The AEJ's Representative for Media Freedom and AEJ UK chairman William Horsley described the survey as a "wake-up call" to national governments in Europe to review their laws and practices to better protect press freedom. "This survey," he added, "demonstrates how the increasingly hostile working conditions for journalists reflect dangerously repressive tendencies in states across east and west Europe, and a shrinking of the space for free speech and the proper scrutiny of state power." See here for more on the survey conducted by experts from the University of Malta and supported by the AEJ, the European Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship, International News Safety Institute and Reporters Without Borders. And here for the survey itself, also on the UK website.
At the same time the Council of Europe has released its annual report from the Council's Secretary-General on the State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe. The report highlights a dangerous tendency towards "legislative nationalism",  showing nearly half the Council's 47 member states fail to satisfactorily guarantee the safety of journalists, with an increase in violence against journalists, criminalisation of the media's newsgathering work, and growing threats to whistle-blowers and the ability of journalists to protect their confidential sources.

 

Analysis of media coverage - UK and USA
For an analysis of UK press coverage of the Brexit issue please see this link written by AEJ UK chairman William Horsley.
For a forecast of trends in journalism in 2017 see this analysis by the Reuters Institute.
And look at this detailed study in the Columbia Journalism Review on how the right-wing media in the USA changed both the U.S. election result and the broader media agenda.

Are we safe?
In the UK this has not really been a major question - political or military - for the last 25 years. But it's high time to re-think that says one of Britain's most respected and formerly highest ranking soldiers. General Sir Richard Barrons argues that we need a major strategic revamp and new vision. In the AEJ UK's first meeting of 2017, the recently retired head of UK Joint Forces Command provided a striking analysis of the strategic gaps and weaknesses in UK and European defences and what he sees as profound failures of strategic decision-making in recent years. For more on this meeting please see here or this full audio transcript of his analysis and questions and answers.

AEJ joins mission and call for press freedom in Turkey
The AEJ has just completed an emergency mission to Turkey and joined five other international watchdog organizations in a new declaratuon of concern.

Appeal for OSCE commitment to media freedom
Eight leading media freedom organizations have appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to ensure the continuation of the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The organizations including the AEJ, Reporters Without Borders, the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists have sent a letter of appeal to the OSCE's Permanent Council. For more see the AEJ International website and the appeal letter itself.

European Human Rights Convention best guarantee for UK press freedom?
The head of the UK Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) - Sir Alan Moses - says the European Court of Human Rights provides the best guarantees and safeguards for press freedom in the UK, "better than any British courts". And he told a journalistic audience that Fleet Street is thus "ill advised" to campaign to get out of the Council of Europe. The head of IPSO, a former Appeals Court judge, also applauded British press opposition to government attempts to create a government press regulator. See here for more on his presentation. IPSO - set up and supported by major British newspaper owners - is involved in an ongoing UK power struggle over media freedom and responsibility between major publishers, the government and critics of media abuses.  It was created after the 2011-12 Leveson Inquiry into scandals about abuses of media freedom and intrusion into individuals' private lives. A number of major independent media- including The Guardian, The Financial Times, the Observer, the London Evening Standard, Private Eye, BuzzFeed, Yahoo, and the Huffington Post - have been unwilling to sign up to either IPSO or the government's recently inaugurated press regulator.

RSF issues appeal on Turkish press freedom
Reporters Without Borders has appealed to EU leaders
to do all in their power to rescue journalism in Turkey, where over 100 journalists have been jailed as suspected terrorists and over 700 press cards have been rescinded. On a trip to London, exiled Turkish newspaper editor Can Dundar warned that the coming referendum on changing the Turkish constitution could lead to the country becoming a dictatorship. 
Please see the AEJ International site for more.
If you would like to join or onpass the RSF campaign see this link.

Iris on media freedom
For analysis and ongoing reports particularly on video media and freedom of expression see the Iris network site - the European Audiovisual Observatory set up 25 years ago by the Council of Europe to compile statistics and analyse Europe's tv, video and film industries including broadcast news.

Mediating Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump, fake news, and post truth.. for some reflections at the beginning of 2017 please see:

Open letter from White House press corps - from Columbia Journalism Review (courtesy of AEJ member Andrew Dobbie as is the CJR article below)
www.cjr.org/covering_trump/trump_
white_house_press_corps.php

The Coming Storm for Journalism - from Columbia Journalism Review
http://www.cjr.org/special_report/trump_
media_journalism_washington_press.php

Covering politics in post-truth America - from the Brookings Institution
https://www.brookings.edu/essay/covering-politics-in-a-post-truth-america/

The New York Times on fake news.

Who to blame for fake news -
http://billmoyers.com/story/whos-reallyto-blame-fake-news/

Prospects for the American press under Trump:
http://pressthink.org/2016/12/winter-coming-prospects-american-press-trump/

http://pressthink.org/2016/12/prospects-american-press-trump-part-two/

And prospects for journalism in 2017 from Nieman Labs:
http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/12/the-aberration-of-20th-century-journalism/

http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/01/whats-the-big-journalism-trend-for-2017-fear-oh-and-voice-news-bots/

Fears for media freedom in Poland
AEJ Poland member Krzysztof Bobinski has an updated report on the stand-off between journalists and the Polish government concerning plans to restrict the media's physical access to parliament for reporting.  For more details see the AEJ International website.

Turkey post coup
"Turks love conspiracy theories" says international consultant Mehmet Ogutcu - as do many people. Just returned from another frequent trip to Turkey, the former Turkish diplomat, OECD executive and now chairman of consultancy Global Resources Partnership provided a detailed and well informed briefing on the current state of Turkey at an AEJ-UK lunch on Nov.8 2016. For more on this well attended and enlightening meeting please see this account from AEJ member Nevsal Hughes.

AEJ deplores abrupt closing of leading Hungarian newspaper
The AEJ raised concerns about the sudden closure of Nepszabadsag, Hungary's leading daily newspaper and one of the last critical voices in the country's national media. The newspaper was suddenly closed on Oct. 8 2016, prompting thousands of Budapest residents to take to the streets to protest at what many see as a new attack on press freedom in Hungary.  

AEJ in Council of Europe consultations on Turkey's abuse of emergency laws
The AEJ and 7 other European journalistic and press freedom organisations have met with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe for intensive discussions about the critical situation for independent journalism in Turkey. In the wake of July's imposition of a state of emergency, there were calls at the meeting in Strasbourg on Oct. 6 2016 for urgent action by Turkish authorities, European governments and the Council of Europe to prevent torture and mistreatment, ensure the exercise of impartial and professional justice, and to end widespread abuse of the emergency laws. See the AEJ report and the Council of Europe statement.

Turkey Crackdown
For the latest information and alerts about violations of media freedom and attacks on the safety of journalists in Turkey please see Council of Europe's Platform for the safety of journalists (www.coe.int). These alerts are sent directly and quickly to the state authorities in Turkey and other countries concerned. Their responses to allegations of violations are published on the platform. The AEJ is working closely on this day by day with the EFJ/IFJ, Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists Index on Censorship, IPI and Reporters Without Borders. William Horsley, UK chairman and AEJ international Vice President and Media Freedom Representative, notes that "the arbitrary and sweeping arrests of journalists and closures of media outlets in Turkey are alarming and urgent. Many journalists who have not been arrested are obliged to lie low and not speak in public because of the dangers." Horsley has an assessment of Turkey's actions under the state of emergency on the international AEJ website. There is also a petition from Amnesty International calling on President Erdogan to uphold human rights in Turkey, even in a state of emergency. The petition here has options to sign - http://bit.ly/turkeyrights 

 Celia Hampton
Sadly, Celia Hampton, our long-time secretary, treasurer and website editor, passed away on May 17 2016 after a protracted illness.  Celia was a friend and colleague to many AEJ members and contributed an enormous amount to the AEJ in both the UK and internationally. Despite increasing frailty and ill health she continued to write regularly on her specialty legal matters before finally succumbing to the pulmonary illness which dogged much of her life in recent years. Please see our Obituaries section for more information and personal recollections.

 

 

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 national sections across Europe.
In the UK section, we arrange for leading newsmakers to speak to us about once a month, over lunch at the office of the European Parliament in London. We also organise some seminars and events.
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.
There is more information on this website -
www.aej-uk.org - and on our new Facebook page.

We are independent of any institutional or political group and 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.

Individual members of other AEJ national sections are very welcome to attend our meetings, by prior arrangement.


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 and Vice President 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 and reports 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 eight 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.
The AEJ actively supports the ongoing efforts of UNESCO, the UN Agency with a mandate to safeguard media freedom, to implement the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. 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.
Our campaigns and activities can also be tracked on the
Media Freedom and News pages of the international AEJ website, www.aej.org


AEJ and the Council of Europe

The 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.

To read further, please go to Media Freedom.


 

Media visits to the European Parliament

The EP's London Office has a small 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).