Hürriyet - Turkey | 02/10/2015

Hate campaigns the norm in Turkish media

The anti-government Turkish TV host and columnist Ahmet Hakan was attacked by four men in front of his home on Wednesday. At the start of September a columnist for the pro-government paper Star had already made a death threat to Hakan. There is too much hatred in the public debate, the conservative daily Hürriyet warns: "The mood in this country has not been normal since June 7. With the massacre in Suruç and the escalating PKK violence, we have become imprisoned in an atmosphere of tension and crisis. While the conflict worsens in the south-east of the country and our children lose their lives, the media are also affected by this escalation. Newspaper owners are being threatened and shot at, and the windows of newspaper offices are being smashed. ... Threats, lies and violence have become the norm on TV screens. ... This menacing, destructive mood in the newspaper columns must end. We need a more constructive, more innovative way of thinking, one that is more open to self-criticism." (02/10/2015)

Göteborgs-Posten - Sweden | 01/10/2015

Distorted image of Eastern Europe in Swedish media

The coverage of Eastern European affairs in Sweden is deeply prejudiced, the daily newspaper Göteborgs-Posten complains: "Articles say more about Sweden than about Eastern Europe. Clearly when it comes to events in Eastern Europe, they are observed through a Swedish filter. … Eastern Europe seems only to be of interest when it comes to warning against genuine or purported fascists - a kind of projection surface for Sweden's own social debate. … Apart from that there is little interest in Eastern European countries. Our understanding of our neighbours suffers because of this. The contours of an ultra-capitalist desert or a breeding ground for right-wing extremism are being sketched. Eastern Europe is once again the bad guy from the Cold War films. People read about this and are appalled, puzzled and worried for a while. But then they move on to the next topic, none the wiser about the situation." (01/10/2015)

Jyllands-Posten - Denmark | 30/09/2015

Muhammad cartoons stand for freedom of opinion

The centre-left daily Jyllands-Posten reprints in today's edition the page whose publication on 30 September 2005 led to a wave of violence in the Muslim world. Although it has left the spaces taken up by the controversial Muhammad cartoons empty it calls for courage in discussion about whether the images should be included in history books: "Ten years ago no one knew that the cartoons would be used to justify terror, violence and intimidation. Now we must engage in another discussion: do we want to live in a free society or in a society of fear? ... Freedom has its price. And if you don't fight for it, it is lost. What is really at stake in the fight to be able to show the cartoons is the survival of freedom of opinion in a multicultural Denmark and a multicultural Europe." (30/09/2015)

Eesti Rahvusringhääling - Estonia | 29/09/2015

No wonder Russia's media know more

After the swap of prisoners Eston Kohver and Aleksei Dressen Estonia's media is facing accusations of having informed the public too little and too late about the deal. Rain Kooli, editor-in-chief of the website of Estonian public broadcaster Eesti Rahvusringhääling, refutes the allegations: "Let us reflect on why the Russian television channels were so close to what was going on, but the Estonian ones weren't. Because the Russian channels were so thorough in their research and therefore uncovered a secret operation which the FSB was trying to hide from the media? Excuse me for laughing! This is the way it goes in Russia: the Kremlin and the FSB call certain television channels and tell them when and where to send their teams. It also tells them what questions to ask Aleksei Dressen upon his arrival in Russia. The entire coverage of the situation is precisely orchestrated. The media have nothing to do with journalism. They are part of a special operation in an information battle." (29/09/2015)

Õhtuleht - Estonia | 28/09/2015

Spy exchange makes Estonia look bad

The Latvian Eston Kohver and the Russian Aleksei Dressen, each imprisoned in the country of the other on espionage charges, were exchanged on the weekend. The fact that the news was first made public by the Russian media worries the tabloid Õhtuleht: "Of course we can be happy that Eston Kohver is once again free and back in his home country, even if that meant Estonia had to pardon the traitor Aleksei Dressen. The people want to know what's happening, and if they can't get their information from the Estonian side Moscow fills the void with its version of the events. So the Estonian officials have no alternative but to refute the Russian video material on Kohver and Dressen. Moreover if we don't react at all we put the public in Estonia and the West at the mercy of the clever - and powerful - Russian propaganda. And as we've seen, Moscow never tires of using it." (28/09/2015)

Trouw - Netherlands | 24/09/2015

Too much hype over photos of Fortuyn's killer

The scandal over the publishing of photos of right-wing populist politician Pim Fortuyn's murderer in the media in 2014 has put the Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur in a tight spot. Because the terms of Volkert van der G.'s early release strictly ban him from having anything to do with the media, the photos caused a major scandal. Now it has emerged that the photo session was actually arranged by the judiciary. Too much is being made of the affair, the Christian social daily Trouw warns: "Everyone involved in this affair made mistakes. … In essence the [collaboration of the public prosecutors] was justifiable. The assumption that the media would hunt down Fortuyn's recently released killer was realistic. One can take the initiative to keep that hunt under control. However, it is worrying that the public prosecutors apparently sent the [current] minister of justice to parliament [where he said the judiciary had nothing to do with the photos] with false information." (24/09/2015)

Õhtuleht - Estonia | 22/09/2015

Estonian journalists want answers from Kiev

Ukraine's blacklist also features two Russian-speaking journalists from Estonia. Pavel Ivanov, chief editor of the Russian-language website Vecherka criticises this in the tabloid Õhtuleht: "Marianna Tarassenko and Andrei Babin are surprised to see their names on the list. Even if they have no desire to travel to Ukraine they still want to know why their names are on it. This question is of interest to all the other Russian-speaking journalists too. One can hardly imagine that Ukraine's presidential office is constantly following the Russian-language media in Estonia. Was the decision made on the basis of their reporting in recent years? They are looking for a traitor. … Anyone who reads the articles of these authors would think twice about inviting such guests. But although they can't be wrong about the facts (there simply are no facts), emotions are something that everyone can make public." (22/09/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania | 18/09/2015

Exodus to Europe: Okay for Charlie Hebdo to draw Aylan

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has once again triggered a debate about how far satire should go by publishing a cartoon featuring the drowned refugee boy Aylan in its latest issue. Web portal Delfi defends the publication: "It's brutal. Even scandalous. But isn't that the way satire should be? It doesn't target the drowning or drowned child - the cartoonists themselves have children and no mentally stable person would make fun of such suffering. It targets the reactions in the refugee crisis and the European state machinery which fails to recognise the dangers in time. One can only lament that so many critics and readers are so superficial in their way of thinking. … Anyone who is familiar with satire and current political affairs knows: this is sarcasm and suffering over the contradictions in today's world - between the rich and the destroyed countries. Satire is and will always be a weapon of humanity." (18/09/2015)

De Morgen - Belgium | 17/09/2015

Dislike button makes Facebook more realistic

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that the company will add a "dislike" button to its social network. Brecht Decaestecker, head of the online edition of the left-wing daily De Morgen, praises the move: "More than 35 percent of's visitors come to our articles via Facebook. The algorithms of Zuckerberg's platform ensure that frequently shared, favoured and commented articles go into the feeds where they are shared, liked and commented even more - and also read more. For that reason some news sites mainly post news articles which they know will get a lot of 'likes' and be shared a lot. This in turn creates the risk that many people for whom Facebook is their main source of information get a distorted picture of the world. … The 'dislike' button will ensure that news sites get a more accurate picture of how big the reaction is to a specific news article, even if it's bad news." (17/09/2015)

Cumhuriyet - Turkey | 16/09/2015

Erdoğan's mentality was always clear

The editorial offices of the Turkish political magazine Nokta were searched by the police and the current edition confiscated on Sunday night. Its cover showed a photo montage with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taking a selfie in front of the coffin of a dead soldier. It has long been evident that Erdoğan would progressively limit freedom of opinion, the Kemalist daily Cumhuriyet explains: "As of today - but in fact even as of yesterday - it has become clear that Erdoğan is trying to maintain his unsteady grip on power with bans, censorship and threats. We should have realised that ten years ago when he started to fight against cartoonists. Even then it was clear that he is a harsh and dangerous leader who isn't even afraid to oppose society's tolerance. But back then even those who you'd least expect to find him a hero thought he was one. No one spoke of dictatorship or injustice. ... Today we must pay dearly for this mistake." (16/09/2015)

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