Saturday, August 19, 2017

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API OFFICE CLOSED UNTIL 21 AUGUST - LE BUREAU DE L'API FERMÉ JUSQ'AU 21 AOÛT

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The API office will be closed this week (14-18 August). We will be open again from Monday 21 August at 9:30h.

Le bureau de l'API sera fermé cette semaine (14-18 Août). Nous rouvrons de nouveau le lundi 21 Août à 9h30.

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API CONCERNED ABOUT THREATS TO PRESS FREEDOM

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(version francaise ci-dessous)

 

The International Press Association (API-IPA), as representative of the Brussels based foreign correspondents, is deeply concerned about recent threats to the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in several European countries.

Journalists have a duty not to refrain from politically sensitive or critical questions. ,,Correspondents who asked last week for comments from the European Commission about the situation in Poland, were fully entitled to do so. Any intimidation on this ground is unacceptable”, says API-president Tom Weingärtner.


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API OFFICE CLOSED UNTIL 24 JULY - LE BUREAU DE L'API FERMÉ JUSQU'AU 24 JUILLET

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The API office is closed for a short summer break until Monday 24 July at 9:30h

Le bureau de l'API est fermé pour une courte pause d'été jusqu'au 24 Juillet à 9:30h

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API AGAINST CANCELLATION OF STRASBOURG TUESDAY'S MIDDAY BRIEFINGS

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The API council has discussed the canceling of the midday briefing when the commission meets in Strasbourg. A number of objections were raised. Most prominently, the council felt that abolishing the midday briefing would deprive journalists of the opportunity to talk -- on the sidelines -- to spokespersons on that particular day. The midday briefing is the only occasion where colleagues can be certain that they will see spokespeople and be able to put specific questions to them on a wider range of subjects. This would no longer be possible if the midday briefing were to be abolished on Strasbourg Tuesdays.

 The API council also discussed the idea of also bringing together spokespersons in Brussels in the afternoon of the read-out in Strasbourg. We came to the clear conclusion that such an idea would not help very much — especially for journalists working for daily newspapers. The idea would not give journalists sufficient time after 4 or 5 pm and before their article deadlines.

Primarily for these reasons, the API council expressed a clear wish to have a midday briefing in Brussels at noon on those Tuesdays when the commission meets in Strasbourg as on every day.

Similarly, the API council was disappointed that no midday briefing took place on 22 June and that we were neither informed in advance nor consulted.

More generally, the API council is rather concerned that SPP communication policy is increasingly focused on "priority" issues set solely by the commission. We do not contest the right of the commission to formulate and implement its own communication policy. However, this should definitely not be done at the expense of journalists' right to enquire about subjects that the commission might not itself consider as a "priority".

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API HOUR ON UPCOMING ESTONIAN EU PRESIDENY

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The permanent representative of Estonia to the EU, Ms. Kaja Tael, was the special guest of a very well attended API Hour this morning in the Residence Palace. Ms. Tael gave an overview of the priorities of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union and answered in much detail questions from the journalists present. Starting on July 1st Estonia will hold the six month long rotating EU presidency for the first time since becoming an EU-member in 2004.

The API Hour – one of a series of briefings on current EU affairs – was moderated by API Bureau member and former president Michael Stabenow.

 

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API SUCCESS ON THE PITCH

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The API football team finished third in the annual Subsicup-tournament. Needless to say that the Austrian Dream Team won once more. The API-team, led by skipper Augustin Palokaj, made up of newspaper (Augustin, Pablo, Oliver), radio (Sebastian), television (Markus) and online-media (Nikolaj) colleagues plus sons (Silas and Gordian) and friends (Mentor, Andy and Chris) of journalists, kept cool in the decisive penalty shoot out. It was our youngest player – Silas, aged 12 – who showed the way by not only scoring twice from the penalty spot, but he was also chosen as 'MVP' – Most Valued Player  - of the tournament. Well done!

All smiles! From left: Skipper Augustin, Most Valued Player Silas, ever smiling Markus and goalie Mentor.

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NEW BADGE WILL MAKE PRESS ACCESS TO EP EASIER

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API had a meeting with spokeswoman Marjory van den Broeke of the European Parliament about a few outstanding issues:

  • press entrance to the EP buildings in Brussels: last year a new dedicated press line was established at the visitors entrance to the PHS building, but there were many complaints about the functioning of this facility. Now the dedicated press line will be indicated more clearly and journalists with an accreditation (the yellow interinstitutional badge) will have priority at the security check. The guards will be instructed again to allow them this priority over visitors waiting in line (there will be no special scanners for journalists). After this security check they will no longer have to be escorted by a guard to the revolving door giving access to the building itself, as from later this month on every accredited journalist will be able to obtain a special badge which will open this lock gate. More information about this will follow soon.

  • Photographers:Van den Broeke will investigate if it is possibleto make access easier for photographers, who now need special badges to be able to operate in the EP and who need to sign every time again a declaration accepting the special rules for picture taking in the parliament. She will investigate the possibily of a one-time acceptance for regular accredited photographers and cameramen.

  • Photographers also have a problem with the fact that at high level events in the plenary (like visiting leaders etc.) access to the floor of the hemicyle is limited to only four photographers, mostly working for the same four big agencies. Individual photographers and those working for smaller media want to have access too, for instance on a rotating basis. The EP will look into this request.

  • Censoring speech: API has a problem with the decision taken by the Parliament in december last year, giving the president of the EP not only the power to cut off an MEP/speaker in case he/she misbehaves or voices offensive, racist or otherwise objectionale language, but also to cut off the transmission of this speech by EbS or Europarl-tv to the outside world. This means journalists following the proceedings from outside the EP premises will be at a disadvantage compared to those working in the hemicyle. API stresses that in any case the recordings of this kind of event, including the disputed speech, should be archived for later reference by journalists. Otherwise they can never report factually about what has happened in an otherwise public session. API asks that for users of the archives it must be recognisable whether a video is complete and where something is missing, and also the written minutes of the plenery in question must be complete.

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IN MEMORIAM ROBERT (BOB) TAYLOR (1940-2017)

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Bob Taylor

It is with great sadness that API informs you of the death at the age of 77 of Robert (Bob) Taylor. As a journalist and foreign correspondent, Bob covered the European Union for more than 30 years, reporting on its performance, policies and personalities.

He began his career working for the overseas service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. He joined Reuters in 1967, filing business and financial stories from Berne, before arriving in Brussels in 1971. Bob headed the Reuters Brussels bureau for much of the 1970s, before becoming an EU correspondent between 1982 and 2000 for The Economist. Among his many media activities, he was a regular contributor to the BBC and wrote for The Bulletin, the magazine for the Brussels expatriate community.

Bob was co-author, along with Dick Leonard, a former colleague at The Economist, of the well-known 'Routledge Guide to the European Union'. He wrote several other books on the EU and numerous studies and reports for think tanks and EU institutions. During the 1990s, he was a much valued specialist project manager in telecoms and broadcasting for the EU, the World Bank and the EBRD.

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LÉNAIC FUND FELLOWSHIPS FOR YOUNG FEMALE EU JOURNALISTS

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Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you knew and worked with Lénaïc Vaudin d’Imécourt. She was a talented, much respected and widely loved Brussels-based journalist specialising in international trade. She died tragically young almost two years ago.

I am asking for your help in informing young female journalists from across the European Union about the Brussels-based paid fellowships theLénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism is offering. The closing date for the next applications is 18 June.

The fund provides a financial bursary of up to €5,000 for five months. Its second placement begins in October 2017.

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MEDIA PREPARATIONS FOR ESTONIAN EU PRESIDENCY

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MEDIA INFORMATION ESTONIAN EU PRESIDENCY

The API Bureau had a meeting on May 18th with spokespeople of the permanent representation of Estonia to the EU about the media-preparations for the upcoming Estonian EU presidency.

Main points from our meeting are:

  • All informal ministerial meetings will be held in the Tallinn Creative Hub, a former power plant transformed into a cultural hotspot, on the edge of Tallinns old town

  • A special informal 'Digital Summit' of EU-leaders will be held in Tallinn at the end of September or in early October.

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API CONDEMNS COMMISSION MISINFORMATION, SCHINAS REJECTS CRITICISM

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API has complained to European Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas about the way he responded earlier this week to questions about the so-called glyphosate-issue. API President Tom Weingärtner wrote him this letter:

Dear Margaritis,

API is concerned about the way you have responded this week to questions about the Glyphosate issue. As a result journalists were misinformed.

During the press conference after the college's session on Tuesday in Strasbourg, an AFP colleague asked questions about the admission of Glyphosate and 'perturbateurs endocriniens', and whether this was discussed or decided by the College.

You then replied (quote):

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API OFFICE CLOSED UNTIL EASTER - LE BUREAU DE L'API FERMÉ JUSQU'À PÂQUES

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The API office will be closed in the week before Easter - from 10-14 April 2017

Le bureau de l'API sera fermé la semaine avant Pâques - de 10 à 14 Avril 2017

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API PROTESTS AGAINST ARREST OF DIE WELT-JOURNALIST IN TURKEY

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Today API-IPA issued this statement:

The International Press Association (API-IPA) protests against the arrest of the German-Turkish correspondent Deniz Yücel and asks for his immediate release.

Yücel was reporting for the German newspaper Die Welt and was arrested last week.

API-IPA, representing the interests of foreign correspondents in Brussels, is concerned about the restrictions for the press and the intimidations by the authorities against journalists. Under the martial law, introduced last July, journalists who are doing their job of reporting are criminalised as terrorists. This is an unacceptable assault on the freedom of expression.

API-IPA calls on the Turkish government to release Deniz Yücel and all other journalists arrested since July and to reestablish normal working conditions for the press.

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MEETING API-SPP - RÉUNION API-SPP

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On January 24th the API Bureau had its annual meeting with Margaritis Schinas and his staff to evaluate the workings of the European Commission's Spokespersons Service and the experiences of the foreign correspondents corps with them. This is a summary of the topics discussed.

  • Journalists receive priority access to the Berlaymont scanners in the specific press lanes during the hours of 10.00 and 14.30, and at other times if requested by the Spokespersons' Service. The sensitivity level of the X-ray machines is still in the process of being fine-tuned, especially in reaction to complaints from journalists.

  • security personnel at entrances to Commission buildings other than the Berlaymont or Charlemagne will no longer register names of visiting journalists. The yellow badge is enough ID. But visiting journalists will still have to be met and accompanied by EC-staff in those buildings.

  • links to the online "Upcoming Events", which contains the stable points of the agenda of the weekly college meetings and other upcoming college events are already included in the Daily News. The information will be highlighted even more in Daily News and other publications. The "Upcoming Events" will contain only items that are sufficiently stable to be published. The 'political' nature of this Commission makes it difficult to present a more provisional medium and longterm agenda, like the old Topnews.

  • Margaritis Schinas is willing to organize from time to time off-the-record/background briefings in the press room to present and discuss in advance the college's agenda and objectives.

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RENEWAL OF THE BELGIAN PRESS CARD - RENOUVELLEMENT DE LA CARTE DE PRESSE BELGE

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(Texte français ci-dessous)

Dear API-IPA members,

The Belgian Ministry of the Interior, responsible for issuing the official Belgian press card, has fallen behind in printing the new cards for the 2017-2021 period.

 

The Ministry has informed us that therefore, by a ministerial circular, the validity of the old 2012-2016 card will be extended until 28 February 2017.

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SAVE THE DATE: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IPC RESIDENCE PALACE

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On Monday 28 November, the Résidence Palace – International Press Center will celebrate its 15th anniversary.
To honour this anniversary, the International Press Association (API-IPA) is organizing a panel discussion on press freedom in Europe in the late afternoon. This session is followed by a festive reception in the Patio.

Please write the date in your agenda, the official invitation will follow.


Le Résidence Palace – Centre de Presse international fêtera son 15e anniversaire le lundi 28 novembre prochain.
A cette occasion, l’Association de la Presse internationale (API-IPA) organisera un débat en fin d’après-midi sur la liberté de la presse en Europe. Ce débat sera suivi d’une réception festive dans le Patio.

Notez dès à présent cette date dans votre agenda. Une invitation vous parviendra ultérieurement.

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DEBATE ABOUT CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

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The Association of European Journalists (AEJ) together with the Italian NGO Ossigeno per l'Informazione and the Press Club Brussels Europe organizes a debate on Thursday 27 October on occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), 2 November.

Over 800 journalists were killed in the past 10 years in the world. In nearly all these cases their killers have never been brought to justice.

The event will consist of two sessions: the first one a panel debate on the geography of violence perpetrated against journalists in all its possible forms and how it has an impact on the work of fellow journalists. A second session will be centered on an Italian case and the work of Ossigeno per l’Informazione (Oxygen for Information) which has uncovered the cases of thousands of journalists, bloggers, photo and video reporters, who have been victims of intimidation, threats and abuse in Italy.

For more info, see http://tinyurl.com/zcvuz95

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IFJ CONFERENCE ABOUT IMPUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

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To mark 2016 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) will organise a half-day conference on 7 November in Brussels on "Turning words into action".

According to IFJ statistics 112 journalists lost their lives when carrying out their duties in 2015. Today only one out of 10 killings in the media is investigated.

The conference will focus on concrete actions that can be put in place to end impunity for journalists' killers.

Location: Salle Maelbeek, Résidence Palace.

 

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API CONDEMNS CLOSING OF HUNGARIAN PAPER 'NÉPSZABADSÁG'

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The International Press Association (API-IPA) is concerned about the closing down of the Hungarian daily 'Népszabadság' last week. The voice of the Brussels press corps expresses its solidarity with the Hungarian collegues who might lose their work.
As 'Népszabadság' has been one of the media independent of the Hungarian government, without this newspaper, the ruling Fidesz-party will consolidate further its control over the Hungarian media. API-IPA deplores this new step towards a
media system that is incompatible with the principles of democracy and a pluralistic Hungarian society.

Brussels journalists expect the European Commission to investigate the circumstances that led to the end of one of the oldest and most respected papers in an EU-member state.

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L'Association de la Presse Internationale (API-IPA) est préoccupé par la fermeture du quotidien hongrois 'Népszabadság' la semaine dernière. La voix de la presse internationale à Bruxelles exprime sa solidarité avec les collègues hongrois qui pourraient perdre leur travail.

Comme 'Népszabadság' a été l'un des médias indépendant du gouvernement hongrois, sans ce journal le parti au pouvoir Fidesz peut consolider son contrôle sur les médias hongrois. API-IPA déplore cette nouvelle étape vers un système médiatique qui est incompatible avec les principes de la démocratie et avec une société hongroise pluraliste.

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YOUNG CORRESPONDENTS INVITED TO MEDIA-FORUM IN ST. PETERSBURG (RUSSIA)

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The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (Russia) and the Mediacongress Commonwealth of Journalists is inviting young journalists to attend the XIth Media Forum for young journalists from Eurasia which will be held in the Hermitage Museum on 22 and 23 November 2016.

Young correspondents, editors, photographers, bloggers, directors and media-experts will then be able to take part in a 'Dialogue of Cultures' event, in which they can share experiences, debate issues and network with about 200 other young journalists and journalism students from Russia and from all over Europe.

Young correspondents interested in participating should go to http://mediacongress.ru/en, where they will find all information about the program, applications forms, and other practical information.

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