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

Celia Hampton: It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Celia Hampton 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 will take place in London at Golders Green crematorium at 3pm on Tuesday May 31. Please see our Obituaries section for more information and personal recollections.

World Press Freedom Day: Section events to mark 3 May were plannned across Europe (www.aej.org). Reports of those held are being published on www.aej.org. AEJ Turkey took part as a member of the G-9 Platform, Freedom for Journalists (www.aej.org) (6 May 2016)

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 April 2016)

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 2016)

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: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)

AEJ protests against Polish media law: The AEJ has written an open letter to the new Polish government to abandon its proposal to place public service broadcasting under direct government control. See aej.org (29 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 December 2015)

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 Fryer’s Germany wants Britain in the EU of interest. (5 December 2015)


Latest Briefings

A selection of writings with an AEJ connection

Jonathan 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 Academy

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)

 

 

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. A fee of £25 is charged to cover the cost of refreshments (free admission may be extended to students on a discretionary basis).

For 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 Events.

The 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 journalists.  

Otmar Lahodynsky, AEJ President

Tibor 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 sign.


Portrait of a Soldier

William Horsley has written a review of this film about the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, premiered on 14 January at the Polish Embassy in London.

An 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 personal testimony.

The film is available on DVD and as a download from Journeyman Pictures.


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. 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.

The 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.

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.