Wednesday 23 April 2014

Currently browsing 'Media Freedom'

Freedom of the press is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials. While such freedom mostly implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state, its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.

 

Jordi Vaquer: Putin’s stance may induce others to warm toward Europe

Posted by on 27/03/14

“Many proponents of traditional values across Europe have started feeling uneasy about finding themselves in Putin’s camp ideologically. In Lithuania, for example, the Christian Democrats abstained from voting, thereby blocking a proposed law against ‘gay propaganda’ similar to the one introduced in Russia, while the Catholic hierarchy swapped its usual nationalist stance for an enthusiastic pro-European statement.
Facing a cowardly Europe while the US is focusing more on the Pacific, Putin has found it easy to win the geopolitical game. But by positioning himself as the ultimate defender of traditional values, he risks discrediting a reactionary trend in central and Eastern Europe which had seemed unstoppable. Thus he may, unwillingly, be strengthening the very democracy which he holds in such contempt.”
– Jordi Vaquer, in the Spanish daily El Pais, 24 March 2014.

In Spanish:

“ … En el resto de Europa, muchos defensores de los valores tradicionales han empezado a sentirse incómodos al verse en el mismo bando que Putin. En Lituania, por ejemplo, los democristianos impidieron con su abstención una legislación contra la propaganda gay de reminiscencias putinistas y la jerarquía católica ha trocado su habitual tono nacionalista por una entusiasta declaración pro Europa.

Ante una UE pusilánime y unos Estados Unidos girados hacia el Pacífico, a Putin le resulta fácil ganar la partida geopolítica. Pero, apostando por el conservadurismo esencialista, Putin puede desprestigiar en muchos lugares del centro y del este de Europa un impulso reaccionario que parecía imparable. Y así, sin quererlo, reforzar la democracia a la que tanto menosprecia.”
– Jordi Vaquer, ‘Putin y los valores tradictionales – El presidente ruso puede desprestigiar un impulso reaccionario que parecía imparable en Europa’, El Pais, 24 Marzo 2014.

 

The new law of the internet

Posted by on 03/03/14
On February 2014, The Turkish Parliament enacted new legislation amending Law No..5651 titled “Regulation of the Publications on the Internet and Combating crimes Committed through these Publications”. It will come into force when countersigned by the President of the Turkish Republic who, by the way, [...]

Youth media can counteract politically corrupt media

Posted by on 17/02/14

Haris Dedovic, Picture credits: e-Society.Mk: Youth and Media Conference
Interview by: Stefan Alievikj
Edited by: Ana Alibegova

Karike (The Links) is a youth magazine in production of a team of young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and read and focused on young people in particular. It goes in print for six years already, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language, and all the work regarding this youth magazine has grown as a firm example of a good practice for media led by youth. The magazine work so far is all done through volunteering, thus this amazing team behind Karike promotes volunteerism in the same time. As our interviewee for this week on Mladiinfo we have our friend Haris Dedovic, editor-in-chief of this youth magazine. Here we go!

M!: How does the Karike story begins? When was the first number published and what was the main motivation behind, what goals you have set at the very beginning?

Haris: The story of Karike begins with the story of ONAuBiH (Youth Press Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and its beginnings. It was the first project of our Association as a direct media product. The first edition was published back in 2007. The motivation and the goals, at the beginning were to have the place where every young person in Bosnia and Herzegovina can address her/his problem, without censorship of any kind and without any journalistic experience. Now, it’s the same goal, but with some additional improvements and upgrades. Today, we want Karike to be that place, but we also want it to be the place where young people that work on the magazine will learn and gain their first experiences on ethical and professional reporting. Also, we improved in content sense. Now we don’t only address the problems, but also provide the relevant information that youth in BiH can’t read in mainstream media.

M!:  Karike is mainly distributed in print. Can it be accessed on-line?

Haris: Karike can be found online, but in the form of PDF magazine at this webpage. Also, articles from Karike are being published on many news portals in the country. We are starting regional cooperation with online media at the moment, too. But, yes, that is the truth, Karike are periodical magazine which has its rules of reporting, analysis, editing and will not go online, except maybe in some extreme circumstances.

Trolls in Bulgaria, cleanup time?

Posted by on 15/02/14

The internet community in Bulgaria tells me that tons of internet posts are being erased, in an attempt to defuse publications exposing major manipulation efforts of the public opinion by the company Leadway Media Solutions with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) being the client. [more]
(Trolls are people hired by PR companies to post laudatory comments for the client, or to blackmouth the client’s rivals. Troll business is big business in Bulgaria) But the internet community is mobilized and has made tons of screenshots which are likely to embarrass BSP even further.
Before I conclude this short blogpost, I would like to say that I’m ashamed of BSP, for whom I have voted in the past.
For the progressive-minded millions of Europeans, politics is not lying-cheating. Sergei Stanishev, leader of BSP and President of the Party of European Socialists, needs to step down from both posts. Fast.

Ankara joue aux censeurs du Web

Posted by on 12/02/14

Dans la nuit de mercredi à jeudi, le Parlement turc a adopté une série d’amendements à une loi régulant l’utilisation d’Internet. L’opposition pointe du doigt une atteinte supplémentaire à la liberté d’expression.

Ankara vient d’adopter mercredi soir une série d’amendements renforçant le contrôle de l’État sur Internet, avec la possibilité pour les autorités de bloquer l’accès à des pages pour violation de la vie privée. Alors que des milliers de sites ont déjà été bloqués par les autorités, l’opposition dénonce un texte « liberticide ».

Une dérive autoritaire du gouvernement

Après un débat très animé, les députés du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) au pouvoir, qui dispose de la majorité absolue, ont adopté de nouvelles dispositions. L’un des amendements votés permet à l’autorité des télécommunications de bloquer l’accès à une page dans un délai de quatre heures sans injonction judiciaire, dès lors qu’elle contient des informations portant « atteinte à la vie privée » ou des contenus « discriminatoires ou insultants ». En outre, le texte autorise l’autorité des télécommunications à accéder, auprès des fournisseurs d’accès, à toute information sur les sites visités par un internaute et les conserver deux ans.

Les députés de l’opposition ont multiplié les interventions pour dénoncer la « censure » imposée par ces amendements, jugés « liberticides ».

« A votre arrivée au pouvoir, vous parliez de renforcer la démocratie en Turquie, aujourd’hui vous tentez d’imposer le fascisme », a lancé Hasan Ören, un élu du Parti républicain du peuple. Altan Tan, député du Parti pour la paix a renchéri : « Souvenez-vous qu’Adolf Hitler a employé les mêmes méthodes lorsqu’il a pris le pouvoir en Allemagne. Chaque jour notre démocratie régresse, ces mesures sont purement liberticides ».

Bruxelles hausse le ton

« Cette loi suscite une forte préoccupation ici » car elle pose « des restrictions à la liberté d’expression » a déclaré Peter Stano, porte-parole du Commissaire européen à l’Élargissement. Bruxelles a exigé immédiatement la « révision du texte ».

L’opposition turque et les ONG de défense des libertés n’ont pas tardé à réagir sèchement contre cette loi qui, estiment-elles, tend en premier lieu à faire taire les accusations de corruption qui visent le gouvernement. « Il s’agit d’intimider le peuple en lui disant Big Brother te regarde », s’est indigné Faruk Logoglu, vice-président du Parti républicain du peuple. « Ces interdictions ne mettent pas la Turquie au même rang que l’Iran ou la Chine, elles la placent dans une catégorie où les libertés individuelles sont totalement bafouées » poursuit-il.

Reporters sans frontières a dénoncé une « cyber-censure » et le Comité pour la protection des journalistes une « dérive vers l’autoritarisme sur internet » dans un pays déjà classé comme « principal emprisonneur de journalistes au monde ».

Lundi, le gouvernement turc avait écarté toute tentative de censure. « Il n’y a pas de censure sur internet. Nous sommes bien plus libres que beaucoup d’autres pays et nous respectons la liberté de la presse » avait assuré le vice-Premier ministre Bülent Arinç.

Néanmoins, depuis plusieurs années déjà, la Turquie est épinglée dans le peloton de tête des pays censeurs du web. Dans son « rapport sur la transparence », Google avait d’ailleurs classé le gouvernement d’Ankara au premier rang, avec la Chine. Un faux mouvement pour la Turquie à l’heure des négociations pour son entrée dans l’Union Européenne.

BloggingPortal + PressEurop = ?

Posted by on 27/01/14
[Happy Birthday, BloggingPortal! For the birthday present, scroll down] Last Thursday I finally caught up with Eric Maurice of PressEurop, which recently had its plug pulled by the EC following their decision to cancel its renewal tender some weeks after publishing it (sign the change.org petition, check out the team’s  volunteer blog). For those who [...]

Challenges to European Journalists: press freedom, new revenue models, public support?

Posted by on 31/12/13
The Association of European Journalists (AEJ) organised its 51st Congress at the Brussels Press Club on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 November.  The congress included panels on press freedom and on new revenue models, out of which the following informal notes were taken by a colleague of mine. The AEJ Assembly held on Saturday covered [...]

Questions Mediapart à Ch. Leclercq, sur Presseurop et financement des médias

Posted by on 31/12/13
Médiapart, le média d’investigation français, a publié cet article (accès payant, je ne peux le reproduire, en raison du (c) ): Médias européens: le maquis des financements publics … – Mediapart . Son journaliste Ludovic Lamant m’a adressé des questions complémentaires, également publiées, dont les réponses sont intégralement reprises ci-dessous. Autour de “l’affaire presseurop“, voici [...]

The sad demise of Presseurop

Posted by on 24/12/13

With one ” Up to soon ” he was saying goodbye of his readers, Eric Maurice, Editor chief of Presseurop, one of the principal web sites of information about the European Union. The European Commission closes the faucet. Not even the laments of important European means neither as The Croix, or those of Martin Schulz, Either president of the European Parliament, or the withdrawal of any more than 15.000 signatures, have been capable for the present of avoiding Presseurop’s end.

Read more

A guide to the Ukrainian media: priceless!

Posted by on 15/12/13

I received this excellent text from Vadym Omelchenko from the Gorshenin institute. I want to share it with all interested immediately, and I basically made no edits:

“In the tensed situation in Ukraine today, the Gorshenin Institute experts analyse both the essential senses and the resources used in the political battle occurring today in Ukraine. We are often asked today what the likely developments are and how far the confrontation could go. The answer to this question depends on many factors. Here I want to touch upon a major aspect. One of the main resources in such situations is obviously the mass media. Here is a snapshot of the Ukrainian media just before the protests occurred. All the central TV stations in Ukraine were controlled by the power and oligarchs. It was the same for the nation-wide printed media. It is worth mentioning here that shortly before the events, the largest Ukrainian media group – UMH – was sold to the emerging Ukrainian oligarch Sergiy Kurchenko who is considered by Ukrainian experts to be linked to the closest entourage of President Yanukovych. This group comprises more than 90 media, including top-ranked Forbes Ukraine and Korrespondent. Obviously, all the aforementioned media were loyal to the power, and their information policy was accorded with the strategies of Yanukovych at a given moment. Thus, for example, at the stage of the preparations for the signature of the agreement with the EU, these media actively promoted the idea of the European integration, and after the failure to sign, as actively they were explaining the reasons for the re-orientation towards Russia. A few top internet sites were remaining an island of freedom, including Ukrainska Pravda, lb.ua, censor.net.ua and some other.
The situation started changing rapidly with the burst of protests. These were the internet sites that were the first to undergo attacks. According to IT-specialists, the denial-of-service( DDos) attacks that have been practiced for already one month continuously, 24h round, are unprecedented for their intensity and technical support in the history of the Ukrainian Internet. In terms of technology and intensity, specialists compare those to the attacks on the web site of the Russian opposition publication “Novaya Gazeta”.
As result, all these sites have experienced full cuts several times, or operated with irregularities. We have an extended technical understanding about the types of the DDos attacks applied, but experts draw our attention to another point. These attacks are targeted not at just one publication, but at all the top-ranked internet media. The largest Ukrainian internet portal ukr.net suffered as result of the attack. i.e., the intensity of the attack is such that even providers are not able to withstand the load.
And this has occurred despite the fact that all the Ukrainian top sites are operating based on remote servers located in Europe or in the USA. However, the specialists have coped to mobilize and find technical solutions allowing for a relatively seamless operation of the sites and online coverage of all the events happening in the country. However, everybody understands that the attacks continue, the aggressor tests the sites protection, and the likelihood of a simultaneous cut of all the internet resources in Ukraine is not excluded. The pressure on the internet media went beyond just Ddos attacks, culminating in the Berkut special police detachment breaking into the office of cenzor.net publication on 9 December and destroying the servers.
As curious is the situation in the televised and printed media after the start of the protests. Top-ranked Ukrainian TV stations owned by Ukrainian oligarchs and covering the whole territory of Ukraine have manifested and continue keeping an objective attitude. TV channels Inter owned by oligarch Dmytro Firtash, 1+1 owned by Igor Kolomoyskiy and Privat Group, EastOne founder Victor Pinchuk’s media holding comprising channels ICTV, STB and Novy, and even Ukraina TV and radio company belonging to Rinat Akhmetov, regularly provide objective information about the events in Ukraine in their news. They present both the chronicles of protest and the reaction of the Ukrainian and international politicians, their local correspondents provide immediate information from all Ukrainian regions. The news reports are balanced, and do not have the manipulative or partial character typical for Ukrainian media. There is no censorship either.
One may have a feeling that the journalist teams have an emotional sympathy for the protesters. And if with regard to the Ukrainian politicians, the attitude is cautiously neutral, the TV stations have a strongly critical attitude as for the representatives of the law enforcement bodies involved in the crackdowns and in the beating of the protesters.
At the same time, it is important to note that none of the central TV channels switches on a continuous live streaming at even the most emotionally tensed moments. Even the 5th channel owned by Petro Poroshenko does not provide a continuous live streaming from Maidan. It is amusing to see how, at the moment when there is a one-million people march on the streets of Kyiv and activists are speaking from the stage of Maidan, the channel plays commercials for fitness machines. I.e. everything is reduced to rather regular news editions.
We read this as a the revolutionism or revolution turnaround missing in the Ukrainian media’s attitude. Which is rather reflective of the state of things in the society. Our monitoring of the printed media shows that the media controlled by Kurchenko and VETEK media holding present more the position of the President, and criticize the opposition. Furthermore, they stress on the success of the leadership in the foreign policy, including the European direction. The civil strength of the protest is hushed to a certain extent. According to these media, the protest is organized by the opposition leaders whose popularity is dubious. These media also speculate on the advantages and disadvantages of Ukraine’s European and Russian vectors. At the same time, the largest daily newspapers Fakty (Pinchuk) and Segodnia (Akhmetov) present an objective image. Moreover, positive coverage of the rallies and protests and criticism prevail in Fakty. Zerkalo Nedeli (Mirror Weekly), an independent Ukrainian media, traditionally reflects the position of the civil society in a fair manner.
It is to mention that the local media in the East of Ukraine are under control of the central and local administrations, at the same time as in the West of Ukraine, the media are independent. The inhabitants of the eastern regions get also information from the Russian TV channels, although their audience, according to the measurements made by the Gorshenin Institute, tend to shrink from year to year. Thus, today, one may say that the position of the central Ukrainian media is a major resource for the civil society. It is via the position of the Ukrainian media that the citizens of Ukraine join the protests rather than vice versa. This is another important element differentiating Ukraine from other post-Soviet states.”

Intégration et bureaux d’EurActiv Paris: près de l’Elysée, avec Ministre Repentin

Posted by on 07/12/13
(Pour une fois, vous m’excuserez un post un peu pro domo… Egalement à titre de transparence sur ‘qui est derrière EurActiv en France’, merci pour votre attention) Chers ami(e)s, partenaires et contacts d’EurActiv, Merci d’être venu pour l’inauguration de nos nouveaux bureaux (ou de vous être intéressés à notre développement, et à la présence francophone [...]

Somoano boys

Posted by on 06/12/13

Do you follow with assiduity the television newscasts?

I some time ago that I stopped following. Do not be if it was when I started familiarizing with Internet or when me dí account of which the television newscasts were speaking increasingly about the time, about the sports or about events.

Maybe for this motive, when occasionally I see now a fragment of someone of them, there is called me the attention the quantity of foolishnesses that swarm today for our television newscasts.

It is clear that you can say that this they are particular opinions and that on tastes there is nothing written. But it is that I do not say it. It is the own Advice of Informative of RTVE the one that has elaborated a report in the one that criticizes the ” trivialization and banalización of the informative ones “.

Read more…

 

Cohesion policy and macroeconomic conditionality

Posted by on 22/11/13
Discussions about the next EU multiannual budget, finally approved by the EP earlier this week, revolved around the available amounts, own resources and issues like flexibility and mid-term revision. But the agreement brings important changes also into some policy areas – last but not least the Cohesion policy, which takes one third of the overall [...]

Lessons of soberness

Posted by on 17/11/13

While Ukrainian politicians and experts analyze the reasons of the failure of the unscheduled session of the Verkhovna Rada on November 13, sober estimations of the current situation have unexpectedly begun to appear in Europe. Although with reference to anonymous sources in diplomatic circles.

Let us recall that the law on the possibility of Yuliya Tymoshenko’s treatment in Germany was to be considered during the session. And EU representatives constantly declare that the release of the ex-prime minister is the main condition for signing of the Association Agreement.

But let’s start with some prehistory. In all this epic with the fulfillment of conditions of the European Union by Ukraine for the successful signing of the AA, from the very beginning many observers understood that Viktor Yanukovych for his own some specific reasons won’t apply efforts to free Mrs. Tymoshenko. What are these reasons is not important now, what’s important is that this is the way it happened – Ukraine fulfilled all requirements of the EU practically by 90%, except some of them. Only questions of adoption of laws on public prosecution and elections of MPs in the second reading (probably it will be done soon) were not completely solved. And the notorious “Tymoshenko’s question” which, apparently, is going to be solved neither by the power (despite all public reassurances), nor by the opposition. Thus, the destiny of the Association depends on the solution of this question (which is actually necessary not only to Ukraine, but to the EU as well) – at least, the majority of European politicians try to convince us of this.

But why has it happened like this, and isn’t the similar statement of the question a mistake of the EU representatives about which many of them, obviously, already regret? In my opinion, as well as according to many other Ukrainian experts, it is. But the mistake of not only Europe, but that of the Ukrainian party as well – including the power and the opposition. If European politicians were told from the very beginning that for signing of the AA Ukraine is ready to do everything, apart from the solution of the problem of selective justice by means of selective justice or selective legislation, then, I think, people in Europe, those on whom the decision-making depends, would use somewhat different rhetoric. If European politicians from the very beginning were more critical about the public statements of the Ukrainian oppositionists about the need of Tymoshenko’s release, then the name of the Ukrainian ex-prime minister wouldn’t appear or would appear not so often in the interpretations of the “Fule list”. And in fact none of the leaders of the opposition needs it, because free Tymoshenko will cross out their presidential ambitions at once.

By the way, in Pet Cox and Alexander Kwasniewski joint statement, published after their interim report at the conference of presidents in Brussels, Yuliya Tymoshenko’s name already doesn’t appear any more.

Next day – on Thursday – there appeared those sober estimations of the current situation by Europeans about which I was writing at the beginning. They involved statements saying that the AA between Ukraine and the European Union can be signed before Yuliya Tymoshenko’s release, if Viktor Yanukovych takes on the obligation to resolve this issue.

This was said by the high-ranking Brussels diplomatic source of the Polish newspaper “Rzeczpospolita”. According to the informant of the edition, the final decision on the destiny of the Association will be made not on November 18-19 by Foreign Ministers of the EU countries, but probably on the eve of the summit in Vilnius. “The final decision can be made by the heads of the EU even on November 27 in Vilnius”, – convinces the source. “It isn’t even excluded that the Agreement will be signed despite the fact that Tymoshenko will remain in prison. In such a case however Yanukovych will have to take on a corresponding obligation”, – declared the informant of the edition.

It is remarkable that the position in many respects similar to this one was voiced also by the ambassador of Lithuania in Ukraine Petras Vaitiekunas in the interview to one of the Ukrainian editions on Thursday. According to him, the EU agrees to depart from the protocol and is ready to make the decision on Ukraine at the last minute, because it will help to keep Russia from the final return to totalitarianism, which is dangerous, including, for Europe as well. “Falling of such a huge unit as Ukraine in the direction of the Customs Union will lift there (in Russia) the wave of revanchism, unconfirmed, unreasonable expectations that “guys, if we managed to get Ukraine back, we can get everything back: the course of history, and reconstruct something in the counterbalance to the West”, – he explained. “For the solution of this super-task – not to lose Russia – first of all, it is necessary not to lose Ukraine”, – emphasized Vaitiekunas.

Answering the question about when the decision on the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU can be made, the ambassador of Lithuania assumed that it can occur in the last hours before the summit. “This decision will be made at the summit on November 28-29 in Vilnius. And probably this decision will be made not in the last days, but in the last hours or last minutes”, – he added.

As we can see, many European politicians and diplomats have already realized the necessity to keep Ukraine in Europe for their own safety, especially when Ukraine has actually fulfilled all requirements of the EU, apart from this one. Time will show whether similar sober assessments of the situation will be able to become more large-scale in the “collective unconscious” of Europeans, but not much time is left – only a couple of weeks.

 

Three against “Express”

Posted by on 17/11/13

For journalists, writing about politics in Ukraine, it is customary that the characters of their publications act against them. The representatives of the authorities of different levels often do this. This time the leaders of the opposition factions in the parliament acted against the popular Lviv newspaper “Express”.

It is well known that the unbiased press – is the first aid of an opposition politician, of course, if it does not write about the business, connected with their not always correct activities. Lviv can fairly claim to bear the name of the second political capital of Ukraine, and the local journalists did not go into raptures because of the actions of the popular in the West of Ukraine Svoboda party.

The newspaper with the largest circulation, the Express, having worked in the newspaper market for over 20 years, has published a series of investigations about the activities of the Svoboda leader, Oleh Tiahnybok, and his associates. It is clear that nobody likes it when the party financier is found out to be a person with a criminal past and the ardent female nationalist – turns out to be a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. However, the unusual reaction has been urged by the last investigation of the Express, signed by the editor-in chief of the newspaper, Ihor Pochynok. It must be remarked that the Express specializes in investigations, in particular, the newspaper managed to expose the dangerous rogue “Doctor Pi”, Andriy Slisarchuk, operating upon people without any medical education.

The Express newspaper has recently announced that the arrested in Austria Vasyl Novytskiy, charged with fraud, had been Oleh Tiahnybok’s business partner for a long time. This partnership lasted for about 15 years and its foundation looks very interesting. Novytskiy called himself the inventor of the cure for cancer with the symbolic name of “Ukraine”, which was allegedly the panacea for Oncological diseases. Taking into consideration that Ukraine is one of the European leaders by the number of cancer patients, it can only be imagined what profits Novytskiy has gained speculating on people’s problems. It seems that the part of the money ended up as the party funds of the Svoboda.

The oppositionists preferred to avoid reasoned response to the criticism on the part of the press and to act as the united front against the Express newspaper, having signed a joint statement which claims the beginning of the information war against the opposition forces. However, the representatives of the Batkivshchyna and the UDAR have decided not to post this statement on the official websites of their political forces. Perhaps, the parties understand that they are absolutely in the wrong. The approach to the problem resembles the decision by the Pechersk Court in the times of Yulia Tymoshenko’s being the premier when there was made an attempt  to forbid any criticism of the actions by the government, headed by the Batkivshchyna leader.

It is significant that the leaders of the opposition parties in the case with the Express have acted together for the first time since May 2013, when within the framework of the campaign “Stand up, Ukraine” they declared their intention to change the power in the country. The desire to avoid criticism does not increase a politician’s chances to get a victory, whatever he might be – oppositional or pro-governmental. I am sure that such methods of responding to criticism by the press have little to do with the European political principles. I hope that the partners of the Ukrainian opposition in Europe (the Batkivshchyna and the UDAR are the observers in the European People’s Party) will manage to explain the fallacy of their stand.

 

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