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The first ever Press Freedom Police Codex launched in Brussels

5th December 2019

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) launched its Press Freedom Police Codex on 4 December in Brussels. The Codex formulates in eight clauses how the police and journalists can work amicably together. The clauses are based on research into areas of conflict between the two professions from all over Europe. It addresses issues of police violence, surveillance, accreditation, protection of sources and confiscation of journalistic materials. With the launch of the  Codex, ECPMF aims to provide guidelines, establish and continue a dialogue between journalists and the police, to help the two professions work together more smoothly.

The Belgian representative of the European Confederation of Police (EuroCOP), Peter Smets, commented on the Codex adding this: “Due to the increase of violence in our society, journalists and police officers face the same challenges. This is a wake-up call for better communication. At the end of the day, we all want to come home safely.”

The Codex is a joint effort by ECPMF and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Index on Censorship, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), Ossigeno per l’informazione (O2), and South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). Together, they have pooled their research and experiences to produce eight guiding clauses that can inform the work of police and journalists. The points are as follows:

  1. Any violence by police staff against journalists is unacceptable;
  2. Journalists have the right to gather information and police should protect them from any illegal interference, especially at demonstrations;
  3. Journalists should have the right to identify individual police staff and to document and report on the work of the police forces;
  4. Police are not allowed to erase footage, nor to confiscate journalists’ equipment without a proper warrant;
  5. Journalists should not be criminalised, discriminated against nor blacklisted for their assumed political attitude;
  6. Journalists should not be targeted by police surveillance;
  7. If police harm, threaten or harass journalists, these actions must be condemned, investigated and made public by independent investigators;
  8. Police should be trained and regularly updated on journalists’ rights.

While ECPMF acknowledges that the relationship between journalists and the police is difficult, it is important to build a dialogue to encourage mutual respect, the upholding of human rights to nurture an environment in which press and media freedom can thrive.

“Everywhere you look you find the same problem: in the turmoil of protests, journalists are hindered in their work. Sometimes they are even attacked. The Press Freedom Police Codex is designed to give police and media professionals a clear set of guidelines on how to safeguard press and media freedom,” said ECPMF’s Managing Director, Lutz Kinkel. “We hope the clarity and practical usefulness of the Codex will help to minimise inappropriate clashes between police and journalists.”

EFJ Director Renate Schroeder said: ”The public, including the media and in particular journalists needs to have confidence in its police. This is only possible when there is an open and collaborative relationship between the police and the media.  Dialogue and training between both groups about its respective role is ever more urgent. Therefore we welcome the code and we welcome the dialogue with the police, and in particular with the police union, Euro-Cop.”

Click the link below to view the document:

https://www.ecpmf.eu/files/police_codex_mail.pdf

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L-IĠM jipprotesta għal mod kif ġew trattati l-ġurnalisti – Dawn l-affarijiet m’għandhomx ikunu ripetuti

29 ta’ Novembru 2019

L-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin jipprotesta bil-qawwa kollha kontra dak li seħħ fil-Berġa ta’ Kastilja matul il-lejl li għadda, fejn numru ta’ ġurnalisti Maltin u barranin ma tħallewx joħorġu b’mod immedjat ‘il barra mis-sala fejn saret il-konferenza tal-aħbarijiet biex jirritornaw lejn l-uffiċċji tagħhom wara li ntemmet il-konferenza tal-Aħbarijiet imsejħa mill-Prim Ministru.
Wara li fis-sigħat bikrin ta’ filgħodu il-ġurnalisti kienu msejħa f’Kastilja għal konferenza tal-aħbarijiet wara laqgħa twila tal-Kabinett, il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat għamel dikjarazzjoni u warajha ħa numru limitat ta’ domandi u ma tax ċans lill-ġurnalisti li riedu jagħmlu d-domandi tagħhom. Dan fih innifsu hu nuqqas kbir fil-konfront tal-ġurnalisti li marru jaqdu dmirhom anke f’ħinijiet mhux tas-soltu.

Meta ntemmet il-konferenza tal-Prim Ministru fis-sala dehru numru ta’ persuni li la huma uffiċjali tas-sigurtà u anqas impjegati f’Kastilja li filwaqt li rrifjutaw li jidentifikaw lilhom infushom, żammew lill-ġurnalisti milli joħorġu u jirritornaw lejn l-uffiċċji tagħhom, minkejja l-ħafna protesti.
L-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin jinsisti li dan hu aġir illegali, fejn numru ta’ ġurnalisti nżammew kontra l-volontà tagħhom milli joħorġu minn Kastilja wara li ntemmet il-konferenza u tħallew jagħmlu dan biss wara li l-Kap tal-Komunikazzjoni tal-Prim Ministru dehrlu li dawn setgħu jitħallew joħorġu. Aġir bħal dan hu għal kollox inaċċettabli u ma jagħmilx ġieħ lill-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru li kien hu li sejjaħ il-konferenza tal-aħbarijiet.

Ma dan nerġgħu nesprimu tħassib dwar intimidazzjoni li ġurnalisti irċivew mingħand dimostranti waqt il-qadi ta’ dimirijiethom. Kull ġurnalist għandu jitħalla liberlu jagħmel xogħolu, hu min hu, ġej mil-liem kamra tal-aħbarijiet ġej.

Għalhekk filwaqt li juri solidarjetà sħiħa mal-ġurnalisti Maltin u barranin li kienu qed jaqdu dmirhom u kienu suġġetti għal dan l-abbuż, l-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin qed jitlob assikurazzjoni mill-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru li affarijiet bħal dawn ma jkunux ripetuti.

L-IGM juri wkoll is-solidarjetà tiegħu ma ġurnalisti li rrapurtaw li kienu mhedda permezz ta’ Facebook u jappella biex l-awtoritajiet jieħdu l-passi meħtieġa kontra dan l-abbuż u biex jintwera r-rispett dovut lill-ġurnalisti li f’dawn il-jiem diffiċli għall-pajjiż kollu qed jibqgħu jaqdu dmirhom għal ħinijiet twal biex iwasslu lill-pubbliku l-aħħar aħbarijiet dwar affarijiet li jolqtu lilna lkoll.

Sadattant l-Istitut tal-Ġurnalisti Maltin, kiteb uffiċjalment lill-Kummissarju għall-Istandards fil-Ħajja Pubblika fejn talbu jippronunzja ruħu jekk dan l-aġir tal-Uffiċċju tal-Prim Ministru hux konformi ma’ standards pubbliċi f’pajjiż demokratiku; issieħeb ma’ numru ta’ ġurnalisti fi Protest Ġudizzjarju li sar dwar dan l-inċident u nforma bih ukoll lill-Federazzjoni Internazzjonali u lill-Federazzjoni Ewropea tal-Ġurnalisti li appoġġjaw ħidmet l-IĠM f’dan ir-rigward.