Ossigeno Media News Review – March 31st, 2020

31 March 2020 By Luciana Borsatti – Here is a brief review of some topics highlighted recently by NGO and international organisations for media freedom

NEW YORK -The Committee to Protect Journalists launched the #FreeThePress campaign to call for the unconditional release of all jailed journalists to ensure their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past four years, CPJ’s annual census has found a record high number of journalists in jail because of their work,  at least 250. READ HERE 

BRUSSELS – The COVID-19 crisis “shows the lack of reliable social security schemes for freelancers and atypical workers in Europe”, European Federation of Journalists’ Freelance Expert Group (FREG) agreed in a recent online meeting. The group called for “a long-term sustainable strategy on how to protect freelancers and atypical workers in the media and cultural sector.” READ HERE 

PARIS – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned to see Middle Eastern governments taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to step up state censorship and to reaffirm their monopoly of the dissemination of news and information. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel have been mentioned by the organization. READ HERE 

LONDON – States should use Manila Principles to manage misinformation about Coronavirus,  Article 19 says. The British organization has urged tech companies to be more transparent about content moderation practices, as they enact plans to remove misinformation about the virus. The Manila Principles are  a set of standards for censorship and takedown laws published 5 years ago. READ HERE

LONDON – Attacks on media freedom have been rising during COVID-19 epidemic, Index of Censorship says. “We knew when we made the decision to map attacks on media freedom during the current crisis that we would see examples of authoritarian governments using it as an excuse to clamp down on journalists and individuals. What we didn’t expect was the scale of the problem”. READ HERE

VIENNA – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his concern today regarding the accusations against, and pressure on, the public service broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO), by the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša.  READ HERE  

TORONTO – IFEX reports that Slovenian investigative journalist and correspondent of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Blaž Zgaga has been targeted by a hate campaign fuelled by the government on social networks and in the media since he sent an official Freedom of Information Request on the COVID-19 pandemic to the authorities in Ljubljana. READ HERE 

LEIPZIG – The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) is giving legal support to the Times of Malta and the Maltese blogger Manuel Delia. Both have been sued for defamation by Christo Georgiev, Bulgarian co-owner of the Maltese bank Satabank. Delia published an article on his blog, “Truth be Told” in 2018. He was informed of the lawsuit in February 2020. READ HERE 

 NEW YORK – Thai authorities should immediately stop using “anti-fake news” laws to prosecute people critical of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said . A state of emergency has gone into effect on March 26, 2020, heightening concerns of greater repression of free speech. The Emergency Decree can provide the government a free hand to censor free speech. READ HERE 

LB

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