Tag Archives: media

Russia: Latvia Meduza news ‘Foreign Agent’

Brussels 26.04.2021 Russia has announced the independent news website Meduza a “foreign agent,” the Justice Ministry confirmed on 23 April amid what critics call the Kremlin’s continuing crackdown on freedom of speech.
A statement on the ministry’s website said the decision, which also includes the Moscow-based Pasmi (“First Anti-Corruption Media”) news site, was made “in compliance with the requirements of Russian law.”
Meduza editorial said it does not accept the decision and would challenge it in court. (Image above: Riga, Latvia).

Meduza began publishing out of Latvia in 2014 after its then-chief-editor Galina Timchenko left Russia, and reportedly the media received about $250,000 from the former head of Yukos, Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This is stated in the report of the Latvian edition.

With a staff of 23 people based in Riga and Russia, Meduza publishes on a website and a mobile phone app, and is already racking up 2.5 million unique visitors a month.

Russia’s 2012 foreign agent law initially targeted media outlets and civil society groups, subsidised from abroad, especially within the jurisdiction of NATO allies. It has in recent years been expanded to include individual journalists and any foreign-funded persons or entities.
Individuals and groups labeled as foreign agents are required to report their activities and face heavy financial audits. Other media outlets are also required to clearly label the designated entities as “foreign agents.”

Russian lawmakers are also considering legislation banning foreign agents from running for federal office.
Statement of the EU by the Spokesperson on labelling Meduza as “foreign agent”:

“We reject the decision by the Russian authorities to include independent media outlet Meduza on the list of “foreign agents”.

It is the European Union’s longstanding position that the so-called ‘foreign agent’ law contributes to a systematic infringement of basic freedoms, and restricts civil society, independent media and the rights of political opposition in Russia. Democracy is a universal value that includes respect for human rights as enshrined in international law.

It is extremely concerning that Russian authorities continue to restrict the work of independent media platforms, as well as individual journalists and other media actors. It goes against Russia’s international obligations and human rights commitments.

It is the duty of media to report on issues of public interest, and it is the obligation of the state authorities to ensure they can do so in an atmosphere free of fear and intimidation.”

Russian authorities consider Meduza to be a news media, produced within jurisdiction of another state, thus “foreign agent”.

New Commission media team announced

Ursula von der Leyen, endorsed as a top EU executive, announces her future media relations team:

Jens Flosdorff, a German national with 15 years’ experience in political communication, is currently part of the President-elect’s transition team. He was director of communication in the German ministries of defence and of social affairs over the past ten years. Previously, he served as deputy and chief spokesperson for the German ministry of family affairs (2005-2009) and deputy chief spokesperson for the ministry of social affairs of Lower Saxony (2004-2005). In all these positions, Jens Flosdorff worked closely with Ursula von der Leyen. Prior to his public service career, he worked as a journalist in Hannover between 2000 and 2004.

Eric Mamer, a French national, is currently Director in charge of competitiveness and the European semester in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. His 25 years of experience in the Commission span various policy areas and management and communication positions, including deputy head of cabinet of Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger (2012-2016) on energy and on digital issues, head of unit in the Directorates-General for Budget and for Communication (2005-2012), and spokesman for two European Commissioners (1999-2004).

Dana Spinant, a Romanian national, is currently director in charge of budget, communication and general affairs in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. Before that, she was a head of unit in charge of irregular migration (2015-2017) and of drugs policy (2010-2014). Prior to joining the Commission, Dana Spinant worked for 15 years in journalism, including as editor and deputy editor of European Voice (2002-2009), deputy editor of EUobserver.com (2001-2002), as well as news director and Brussels correspondent for various Romanian TV channels.

Eric Mamer and Dana Spinant will start in their new positions once the von der Leyen Commission takes office – which according to the Treaties is 1 November 2019. The current team of the Spokesperson’s Service remains in charge until the end of the mandate of the Juncker Commission.

 

 


 

La Présidente élue von der Leyen annonce la composition de sa future équipe de relations avec les médias

 

Aujourd’hui, la Présidente élue a désigné le noyau de son équipe de relations médias: Jens Flosdorff en tant que Conseiller exécutif pour la communication au sein de son cabinet, responsable des activités médiatiques de la Présidente, Eric Mamer comme porte-parole en chef de la Commission européenne, et Dana Spinant comme porte-parole en chef adjointe.

 

Spain unionists export violence to Barcelona

Concluding the day of a massive anti-independence rally in Barcelona, numerous incidents of violence against journalists, police, transport workers, and damages to public buildings were reported by the victims, witnesses, and social media. Till present 11 reported wounded.

The 300,000-strong march in Barcelona included also far-right groups decorated by Spanish flags, and fascist symbols, who directed their aggression against declaration of Catalan Republic splashed over different groups from media and police, to inhabitants and pedestrians.

A journalist from the Catalan digital newspaper El Nacional was attacked on by an aggressive unionist.  A group of journalists from the Catalan TV public broadcaster were also intimidated, while a van from the same TV station was damaged.

The incidents have been reported since Friday a far-right group of demonstrators for the unity of Spain intimidated employees of the Catalan radio public broadcaster and Barcelona local TV station. The outraged opponents of declaration of Catalan Republic smashed windows of Catalan radio, and damaged main doors, until Catalan police officers had set a police cordon to protect the premises.

The far-right protesters from the rally also attacked Catalan police. The incident took place in Plaça Sant Jaume, outside the Catalan government headquarters, the attackers were insulting the officers and throwing objects: ‘Long live Franco!’, ‘Long live Spain!’ and ‘Franco would fix you!’

So far the EU institutions failed to address the issue of Spanish violence in Catalonia, giving their unconditional support to Prime minister Mariano Rajoy, to what he calls the “restoration of legality” in self-proclaimed Catalan Republic.

The UN experts have already presented their opinion on events in Catalonia, explaining that the ‘territorial integrity’ principle can not be used for suppression of human rights, and right to self-determination of people. ‘Territorial integrity’ is a fundamental principle preventing external forces, but not an excuse to deny people their basic right to determine their future.