Ossigeno Media News Review – March 3rd, 2020

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

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for media freedom, has published a report on a growing trend of autocratic governments around the world using sophisticated spyware tools purchased from private Western companies to snoop on journalists. Among various spyware tools available in the global market, one in particular has faced scrutiny in recent months: Pegasus developed by the private Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group. Read here

The British-Lebanese barrister Amal Clooney, the UK government’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom, has renewed her criticism of Donald Trump. “Some of the language used about journalists by authoritarian leaders is inspired by the language that came from the US president,” she said in an interview. Read here

Amal Clooney also suggested that officials and prosecutors in the world who arbitrarily detain journalists or impose restrictions on free expression should be subject to targeted international sanctions. The proposal represents a blueprint for a radical extension of potential sanctions to protect reporters in countries such as Turkey, Iran or Saudi Arabia. At present these kinds of sanctions are only imposed by the US and Canada. Read here

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a partner organisation of the 2020 edition of the Free European Media conference which will take place in Gdansk (Poland) on March 12 and 13. Speakers, including EU Commissioner Vera Jourova and the former nited Nations session president Mogens Lykketoft, will discuss he role of press and media freedom in democracy. Read here 

The EFJ and civil society organisations were invited by the anti-corruption Intergroup in the European Parliament to contribute to  a 6-month work plan. Media freedom and journalists’ safety will be addressed by this cross-party group of MEPs. Link to the EJF newsletter:  Read here

British human rights organization Article 19 highlights thaton February 24th the UN Human Rights Council began its 43rd Session in Geneva (HRC43). Over 4 weeks, major human rights issues will be debated and acted on, with significant implications for the protection of freedom of expression and right to information globally.  Read here

Two years after the deaths of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírova, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) held a short ceremony of remembrance in Leipzig, outside Nikolaikirche’s Freedom Pillar, with the Honorary Consul of Slovakia and  the Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig.

ECPMF’s website also refers to the so-called”SLAPPs”, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Like their acronym, they are slapped onto journalists, media organisations, human rights defenders and other critics, to silence them and stop investigative research. They were the theme of discussions at the European Parliament in Brussels, on the 12th November 2019. Read here

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has published its latest report recording 49 journalists killed in 2019, two of them in Europe: Lyra McKee (Northern Ireland) and Vadym Komarov (Ukraine). The statistics are decreasing from the previous years, but the number of cases of impunity for the murder of journalists in Europe is on the rise. Read here


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