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Zaman - Turkey | 03/03/2015

Charges against journalist politically motivated

The investigative journalist Mehmet Baransu was arrested in Turkey on Monday, accused of betraying state secrets when he passed on evidence for the intended putsch "Operation Sledgehammer" to the judiciary in 2010 and published it. The accusations are politically motivated, the Islamic-conservative pro-Gülen daily Zaman believes: "Baransu is a prizewinning journalist. He is the most recent victim of an increasingly repressive state, and his arrest is the final step in a process in which violations of press freedom and the right to information have become the norm. The punishments handed down in the Sledgehammer trial have been upheld by the Supreme Court. If they are deemed to be problematic, the judicial system must answer for it. ... The arrest of the journalist on the basis of such meagre evidence is not only a further encroachment on freedom of the press. It also adds weight to the view that the plans for the Sledgehammer putsch were perfectly true." (03/03/2015)

The Independent - United Kingdom | 25/02/2015

Google to censor sex

Google announced on Tuesday plans to ban pornographic content and sexually explicit nudity in public blogs on its platform Blogger. This form of censorship goes against the spirit of freedom of information on the web, the left-liberal daily The Independent criticises: "So, Google doesn't want to be associated with porn - we get it. Yet Blogger was built around the idea that information should be freely accessible in order to stimulate healthy debate. What happened to that? ... This is a sexual cull that goes against everything Blogger, Google, and the internet stands for. Google may like to tote itself as a champion of technological progress - but there's nothing progressive about censorship. If anything, the company has just pushed us backwards." (25/02/2015)

De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 23/02/2015

Royal family's media code superfluous

The Dutch tabloid De Telegraaf has not been invited to attend a photocall before the Dutch royal family sets off on a skiing holiday. According to the royal family. By publishing photos of Princess Beatrix skiing the paper broke the media code of ethics obliging it to respect the royal family's privacy. The right-leaning Telegraaf disagrees: "The media code of ethics doesn't relieve the Dutch media of their responsibility to always cleverly judge where to draw the line between journalistic freedom and European legislation in its coverage of the royal family. And this is why we didn't sign the media code unilaterally decreed by the royal family, but naturally we respect the right to privacy. That makes the code superfluous. Publishing the pictures of Princess Beatrix skiing can't and shouldn't be seen as anything else but a warm-hearted tribute to the former monarch. She, like her mother, is a role model for her generation." (23/02/2015)

The Independent - United Kingdom | 19/02/2015

Daily Telegraph yielded to HSBC

The chief political commentator of The Daily Telegraph, Peter Oborne, resigned last week because in his view the paper failed to give the tax scandal at the HSBC bank adequate coverage for fear of losing advertising revenues. This type of commercially motivated self-censorship puts the very existence of the media at stake, the left-liberal daily The Independent warns: "In other newspapers, the sword of truth may be blunted by commercial interests - witness the Murdoch papers' coverage of the phone-hacking scandal - but the Telegraph was putting the interests of advertisers ahead of readers. ... In so doing, the paper put at risk its most precious asset - the bond of trust with its readers. That realisation may have belatedly sunk in: yesterday the Telegraph put the story that Swiss prosecutors had raided the HSBC offices on its front page." (19/02/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania | 19/02/2015

Not the time for a propaganda war with Russia

It would be entirely counter-productive to get caught up in a propaganda war with Russia, journalist Vladimiras Laučius warns his Lithuanian colleagues on the online portal Delfi: "We're convinced that the media should remain neutral. ... The term 'information war' is better suited to countries whose media are completely under state control. Like Russia, for example, which uses the media as a weapon in its cold - and hot - wars. ... We shouldn't react by actively becoming involved ourselves. Because unlike them, we're free. And to remain free we should avoid firing rounds of information in the direction of our enemies." (19/02/2015)

Radikal - Turkey | 13/02/2015

Turkish media fuel violence against women

The number of cases of domestic violence in Turkey rose by 33 percent last year, according to a study put out by the Ministry of Justice at the end of January. To counter this violence first of all media reporting about women must change, the liberal Internet paper Radikal argues: "All the media owners and 90 percent of the chief editors are men. ... Looking at the figures in this light, women are above all represented in the media by stories about violence and abuse. 40 percent of news stories featuring women deal with violence against women. ... This makes it clear that the media are in fact exacerbating the social trend of violence against women. For that reason politicians, media organisations and of course media representatives must do what they can to tackle this problem. The first measure concerns the representation of women. As long as women are not represented in the various social institutions, above all parliament, in numbers that correspond to their proportion of the population, it seems there can be no hope of a solution." (13/02/2015)

Sydsvenskan - Sweden | 13/02/2015

Even Sweden must defend press freedom

Threats and harassment are increasingly forcing Swedish journalists to exercise self-censorship, Jonas Nordling, Chairman of the Swedish Union of Journalists, reported to the country's parliament during a question time on the working conditions of the press on Thursday. The liberal daily Sydsvenskan warns that press freedom is at risk despite Sweden's fifth place in the latest press freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders: "The number of threats against journalists is increasing and leading to self-censorship. But there are enough people who believe that frequently it's better to remain silent than to speak anyway ... Mostly such cases concern the criticism of religious ideas or beliefs. The problem, however, is that this leads to a sort of informal ban on blasphemy. There are no grounds for that. Press freedom does not only concern journalists: it concerns each and every one of us. A free society needs a free press. ... And where the press is fettered, no one is free." (13/02/2015)

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | 11/02/2015

Investigative journalism is a balancing act

Working together with a network of journalists which includes members on the far left, the Swedish daily Aftonbladet has uncovered the identities of people who anonymously incited hatred against migrants on the Internet. Although such collaborations are not unproblematic the revelations are worth it, the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter believes: "If we accept today that Aftonbladet exposes racists with the help of people on the far left, will we find it acceptable if tomorrow the daily unmasks the undemocratic left with the help of members of the far right? The end can justify the means, not least in journalism. So far the revelations have been relevant. In their aftermath the Sweden Democrats dismissed a lawyer who wanted to arm 'the Swedes' against 'the immigrants'. Everyone has the right to think in terms of odious expressions like 'dirty Jews' and 'jungle negroes'. But we as citizens can expect politicians and lawyers not to practice one moral system at work and another at home at their computers." (11/02/2015)

The Independent - United Kingdom | 09/02/2015

Internet bans will not stop trolls

People who write abusive messages online, known as trolls, should among other things be banned from using the social networks, a group of British MPs has suggested. A misguided idea, according to the left-liberal daily The Independent: "Internet asbos … will do precisely nothing to halt the flow of hate from the sort of damaged and poorly educated individuals who gain large amounts of self-worth from typing it. … the uncomfortable truth is that in Britain it's not against any law to be so stupid, cruel and misguided to think 'Hitler was right', or 'It's not rape if she's drunk'. It's not the police's job to make these people gentler, kinder more empathetic folk with hobbies more rewarding than sitting indoors spewing hate. That was, at one point, their parents' job and they failed miserably, so now it's down to the idiot to take a look in the mirror and wonder why they feel so continuously awful." (09/02/2015)

Vasárnapi Hírek - Hungary | 08/02/2015

Advertising tax could unleash Hungarian media war

Viktor Orbán's far-right conservative government is planning to introduce a five-percent advertising tax for all media companies. The media magnate and oligarch Lajos Simicska is set to wage a "total media war" against the government if it pushes through its plans. The left-liberal Sunday paper Vasárnapi Hírek expects an all-out power struggle between Orbán und Simicska, once close friends: "This is not a total media war but a new milestone in the dismantling of democracy. The old brothers in arms, Orbán und Simicska, are now crossing swords. No, not in the name of improving the fate of their fellow Hungarians, but simply for the sake of power. One of them already has the state in his pocket. Indeed, it's as if he already is the state itself. The other has an incredible fortune in the bank. … Now he is talking plainly. But Simicska has not yet let on all he knows. If he does, all hell will break lose." (08/02/2015)


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