Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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NO FAKE NEWS: FC API WINS THE SUBSICUP

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This must sound like fake news to you, but it is the truth, simply the truth – and a fantastic truth. For the first time in its more or less glorious, but longstanding history API´s football team (FC API) managed to win the annual Subsicup tournament.

The decision came in a dramatic penalty shootout against the favorites and tournament serial winners Austrian Dream Team (ADT). Augustin Palokaj, well trained to stay calm in the wake of people on the podium in press rooms not answering his precise questions, now kept his nerves in front of the opposition´s goal keeper and laid the basis for a rather unexpected success.

FC API, a fine combination of journalistic and other skills, notably from FC Übersteiger, Gambia and Mali, needed a bit of time for the fine tuning. While we lost the first game against the Austrian team (0-4), Momo with a fine header secured a 1-0 win against FC Lithuania, before our center forward Mahmed nicely scored twice against Team Stuttgart.

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NATO ACCESS PROBLEMS QUICKLY SOLVED

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Journalists holding a permanent accreditation at NATO were unpleasantly surprised today when arriving at the alliance’s new headquarters, where they were not given access on showing their permanent accreditation pass as usual, but also had to wait in a sometimes long line for a separate media-visitors badge and for a special badge to open the new turnstiles at the entrance gate. On top of that, identity cards were taken in and only given back after returning the two extra badges when leaving the NATO premises.

None of these changes in access policy were communicated to journalists beforehand. With a Defense ministerial meeting this Thursday and Friday this looked like a recipe for delays and irritation.

API asked the NATO spokespersons service for a clarification. Our intervention was succesful because Piers Cazelet, the Head of Press and Media/Deputy Spokesperson of NATO informed us later yesterday after consulting the security services that:

at the ministerial Thursday and Friday permanently accredited journalists will not need any additional badges like today. Their permanent badge is sufficient. A security officer will ‘swipe’ them through the gate.

later this year, after the summer break, NATO will issue new ‘smart’ accreditation passes which will include electronic access through the barriers at the entrance.

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API DISSATISFIED WITH SPP REACTION TO LAST WEEK'S COMMUNICATION MISHAPS

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Dear collegues, API-IPA would like to share the following statement with you:
Last week, several complaints have reached us about the handling of news by the SPP.
Tuesday afternoon the Commission put out a statement (18/3982) of President Juncker concerning remarks of Commissioner Oettinger earlier the same day in an interview with Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany).
This statement, although of considerable importance in the current political context, was not made public by e-mail alert. Alexander Winterstein told us the following day that a tweet was sent out immediately. That might be the case, but API thinks that this is insufficient.
We would like to underline our - until now - common understanding that all news the SPP distributes between the Daily News of day X and the Daily News of day X+1 will be communicated to the Brussels press corps by (push) mail.
The SPP never approached API with the view to change this procedure and replace it by a 'tweet alert'. Nor did it communicate any unilateral change of this procedure on which accredited correspondents could rely in the past.
The second incident concerns the event "Re-energising Europe - Now" which took place Thursday morning. At the beginning of the Q&A-session, President Juncker answered a question on Italy which caused considerable upheaval in the Italian debate. This statement could be found on EbS immediatly afterwards, but was apparently removed for some time from EbS and then put on EbS again.
Several colleagues testified that the video of the Q&A-session was not available temporarily at least on Thursday evening. Margaritis Schinas did not deny this in his answer to API (to be found below). In this context API would like to stress the difference between a video available on EbS and/or „via different channels“.
We urgently call upon the Commission to clarify the reasons why the video of the Q&A part disappeared temporarily from EbS and whether this kind of proceeding is also envisaged for the future. In any case, API judges this way of proceeding totally unacceptable.
Many correspondents use and appreciate EbS. But they must be sure that the material which is made available via this website can be trusted at any time! API regrets that the handling of the SPP has impaired this trust.
We will approach the SPP again to clarify these issues.
API-IPA Bureau
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E-mail received from Margaritis Schinas, 04 June, 23.22h

 

Dear Tom,

I note the two comments in your e-mail below, which we have already discussed bilaterally with some of your colleagues during the past days and also addressed in the pressroom.

On your first question concerning the Commission's statement of President Juncker on the remarks of Commissioner Oettinger, I would like to assure you that the Spokesperson's' Service always strives to disseminate information efficiently and on this occasion we have acted in full compliance with the API agreement. The agreement foresees that communication with accredited journalists is made as early as possible, "either by email alerts and/or press releases". We communicated timely via a publication on Rapid, which - by the way - offers the technical possibility to everyone to subscribe to real time alerts of publications. In addition and beyond the provisions of the API agreement, we also tweeted the statements, as soon as they were published on Rapid.

On your second remark concerning President's Juncker Q&A session on Italy, I can confirm that as soon as we were aware of the media reaction we did our outmost to provide clarifications and attend to the questions of the journalists. The speech and the Q&A were online and available via different channels; journalists were reacting and tweeting about it. As you would appreciate, technical issues are always a factor in our daily work and the Spokesperson's Service was available and responsive to questions through the late hours of the night in order to provide information and clarity.

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API COMPLAINT ABOUT MFF PRESENTATION

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API has sent the following e-mail to European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas about the presentation of the press material about the Multiannual Financial Framework, last week by president Juncker:

Dear Margaritis,

API has received several complaints from colleagues about the way the press material about the Commission’s proposal for the MFF was made available last week.

The press releases and accompanying documents were available only shortly before the start of president Junckers speech in the European Parliament at 1:30pm. With the following press conference initially scheduled for 3pm, and the necessity to follow the proceedings about this topic in the Parliament, this gave journalists very little time to read the extensive material and prepare themselves for the press conference.

As according to our information the decision-making in the College about the proposal was finished around 11am, we assume the press material was ready at that time, and it would have been better if the documents were sent under embargo right away, giving journalists more time to prepare.

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EASIER ACCESS TO COUNCIL BUILDINGS

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The European Council will make the access to the Lipsius and Europa buildings for accredited journalists a bit easier, something API has asked for sometime ago. The interinstitutional (yellow) badge will be ‘upgraded’ for that purpose.

Until now, upon entering the Council premises, yellow badge holders receive from a security guard a white, blank card that has to be used to activate the revolving doors on exit. This white card will no longer be handed out. Instead, you will be able to use your interinstitutional yellow media badge to activate the turnstiles and speed gates, including those at the passerelle between the Europa and Lipsius building which will be operational soon.

But your badge first has to be activated for this purpose. In order to have this done you need to present yourself at the "permanent badge" desk in the main reception hall in the Lipsius building where your badge will be programmed. It will also be necessary to have your photo taken on the spot. The "permanent badge" desk is open from 7.30 to 19.00. If you have any questions, please contact the press centre on +32 2 281 9000 or by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Council press service has also informed us that later this year the six month badge for European Council meetings will be replaced by a badge that will be valid for one year. More information about this will follow in the coming months.

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API-IPA 2018 GENERAL ASSEMBLY - ASSEMBLÉE GÉNÉRALE

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(version française ci-dessous)

API held its 2018 Annual General Assembly on Tuesday 6 March 2018 in the Residence Palace, under the chairmanship of Tom Weingärtner, API's president. There were about twenty-five members present.

1. Secretary-general Hans de Bruijn gave a short overview of API's activities in 2017, as presented in the annual report sent to all members, with additional comments from president Tom Weingärtner. Main focus was as always on the relations with the European institutions. API regularly meets with the respective spokespersons services and attempts to improve their communication practices. Success is not guaranteed, however, said the president. There was again criticism of the access procedures to the European Parliament, which API will again address.

2. Elections: - the assembly elected a new vice-preisident to succeed Nagayo Taniguchi, who had come to the end of his second and last two-year term. There were two candidates, Eric Maurice and Martin Alasor. The latter however withdrew his candidacy on the spot, after which Eric Maurice (editor-in-chief of EUObserver) was unanimously and by acclamation elected as vice-president. Nagayo Taniguchi will stay on as treasurer and member of the API Bureau. Thomas Friedrich was re-elected by show of hands for a new two-year term as a free elected member of the API Council, with fifteen votes for, three against and two abstentions. Three absent members voted by proxy. The assembly approved without a vote the decision by the API Council to create a seat on the Council for a representative of the Audio-Visual media, Belgian cameraman Olivier Vandersleyen.

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API-IPA CO-FOUNDER GUIDO BOODTS 1944-2018

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API-IPA mourns the death today of one of its co-founders, Guido Boodts (73), after a short sickbed. Belgian journalist for De Standaard newspaper Boodts was one of a group of European journalists who decided in 1975 to establish the Association de la Presse Internationale as representative of the foreign correspondents covering European affairs in Brussels. Guido Boodts became member of the API Council and also one of its vice-presidents during the ‘80s. For many years he was a highly respected colleague in the Berlaymont pressroom. He especially promoted the relations between the foreign journalists in Brussels and their Belgian colleagues. Boodts studied political science before joining De Standaard in 1968 where he developed into its number one European affairs specialist. Later he became foreign editor of the newspaper until his retirement in 2004.

***

API-IPA pleure aujourd'hui la mort d'un de ses co-fondateurs, Guido Boodts (73 ans), après un brève maladie. Journaliste belge du journal De Standaard, Boodts faisait partie d'un groupe de journalistes européens qui décida en 1975 de créer l'Association de la Presse Internationale en tant que représentant des correspondants étrangers couvrant les affaires européennes à Bruxelles. Guido Boodts est devenu membre du Conseil de l'API et également un de ses vice-présidents dans les années 80s. Pendant de nombreuses années, il était une présence respecté dans la salle de presse du Berlaymont. Il a notamment promu les relations entre les journalistes étrangers à Bruxelles et leurs collègues belges. Boodts a étudié la science politique avant de rejoindre De Standaard en 1968 où il est devenu le premier spécialiste des affaires européennes. Plus tard, il est devenu éditeur des affaires étrangères du journal jusqu'à sa retraite en 2004.

 

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API CONDEMNS KILLING OF SLOVAK JOURNALIST

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The International Press Association (API-IPA) is shocked by the murder of our Slovak collegue Jan Kuciak and his friend. API-IPA condemns this crime against a journalist. We expect the Slovak authorities to do their utmost to investigate the truth and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

API-IPA is concerned that this is already the second case of assassination of a journalist in the EU, Maltese reporter Daphne C. Galizia having been murdered only some months ago. Other forms of intimidation are also gaining ground especially in some eastern European countries.

Taking into account the crucial role of a free and independent press, we ask the European institutions and other authorities to undertake everything to bring this tendency to an end and strengthen safety for all media professionals. Otherwise freedom and democracy will be in danger.

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L'Association Internationale de la Presse (API-IPA) est choquée par le meurtre de notre collègue slovaque Jan Kuciak et de son ami. API-IPA condamne ce crime contre un journaliste. Nous attendons des autorités slovaques qu'elles fassent tout leur possible pour enquêter sur la vérité et traduire les coupables en justice.

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API HOUR ON 'WHAT FUTURE FOR EUROPE'

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A very interesting API Hour was held on Monday 26/2 with the title 'What Future for Europe?' It was the presentation of the annual report on the European Economy by the influential European Economic Advisory Group, chaired by prof. dr. Clemens Fuest of the iFO Institute of the university of Munich. He was planned to be one of the speakers, but unfortunately his flight from Munich to Brussels was cancelled, and prof. Fuest could not make it on time. But his colleage prof. dr. Jan-Egbert Sturm of the University of Zurich, carried out this task on his behalf. The EEAG-report gives an overview of the economic prospects of the European Union, but also an analysis of the political challenges that lie ahead, with building trust as one of the main factors.

A summary of the report can be found here: econpol-study summary.pdf

More information at www.cesifo-group.de

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API GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2018 - ASSEMBLÉE GÉNÉRALE 2018 DE L'API

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Members are invited to API-IPA’s annual general meeting on Tuesday 6 March, 2018 at 13.00h at the Residence Palace, Maelbeek Room

(The assembly is for API-members only. Voting is only open to members who have paid their 2017 or 2018 membership fee. Members unable to attend may give aproxy vote, in the form of a hand written and signed note, to another member, to be presented to the API secretariat at least 24 hrs. beforethe meeting. Each member may have only oneproxy vote to cast).

Agenda: (final order of topics will be established at the beginning of the meeting):

1. Presentation and approval of the annual accounts for the year 2017, report of commissioners; discharge of the API Board and auditors.

2. Presentation and approval of the draft budget for the financial year 2018.

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API HOUR WITH MARGARITIS SCHINAS: 'COMMUNICATING EUROPE'

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On February 13th an API Hour was held with Margaritis Schinas, the chief spokesperson of the European Commission. The theme was ‘Communicating Europe’, which Schinas used to explain the communication strategy of the Juncker Commission. About fifty colleagues attended the presentation and participated in a lively debate. Margaritis Schinas showed a powerpoint presentation with details about the Commission’s communication policy and statistics about its results. This presentation can be found here: communication commission.pdf

 

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API PRAISES EWG-HEAD THOMAS WIESER

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Today, Thomas Wieser gave his last press briefing as head of the Euro Working Group, which prepares the meetings of the Eurogroup ministers. On this occassion API-IPA issued this statement:

The International Press Association (API-IPA) wants to thank Thomas Wieser for the fair and professional briefings he held as chairman of the Euro Working Group. We always felt well informed by him and we regret that we lose him as a counterpart for the Brussels press corps. API wishes him all the best for his future work.

Thomas Wieser opted for transparancy when he was appointed as the newly created head of the Euro Working Group. He introduced for the first time briefings on the work of this important institution on a regular basis. Although there were considerable reservations of behalf of certain members of the Eurogroup, he continued talking to the press and never gave in to the temptation of giving misleading or even wrong messages.

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LÉNAIC FUND FOR QUALITY JOURNALISM - APPLICATION OPEN

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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 just over 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 the Lénaïc Fund for Quality Journalism is offering.

The closing date for the next applications is 31 December 2017.

The fund provides a financial bursary of up to €5,000 for five months. Its third fellowship placement begins in March 2018.

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NEWS IMPACT SUMMIT - DECEMBER 4TH

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The European Journalism Center (www.ejc.net) is organising the News Impact Summit in Brussels on Monday December 4

th

. This is a one-day event bringing together journalists, editors, policy makers, researchers and technologists to discuss the year 2017 in which the relationship between politics and journalism changed forever.

How did the global upheaval shape the way journalists covered the news? And how have evolving political, investigative and data journalism practices changed the face of politics. What will 2018 bring?

Technology is transforming media consumption, delivery, partnerships, ethics and experimentation. From the ubiquity of mobile devices and data in reportin, to drastic changes in advertising revenu, to the rise of video and live streams – each advance has presented as many opportunities as it has challenges.

At the New Impact Summit experts will talk about their experiences, challenges and hopes. Participants will have an opportunity to join the debate and attend workshops run by some of the brightest digital innovators in the European media scene.

For more information and free-of-charge registration go to www.newsimpact.io

The summit will take place on Monday 4 December from 10:00 – 18:00h in Area 42, Rue des Palais 46, Brussels.
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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NAMES STRASBOURG PRESS ROOM AFTER SLAIN MALTESE JOURNALIST

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The European Parliament today named the main pressroom in Strasbourg after the recently murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. This happened in a ceremony which was attended by Daphne's husband Peter and their three sons, and many MEP's and journalists.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said that Daphne Galizia was very brave. ,,She was brutally assassinated because she courageously and fierlessly carried out her job as a journalist''. Tajani again called for an international investigation into the murder. ,,Half a billion Europeans will not accept a journalist being assassinated.”

Daphne's husband Peter Caruana Galizia memorized his wife and said that she was murder because what she did mattered ,,and the powerful were afraid of her”. He said that when legal threats proved ineffective, apparently only one solution was left. ,,To say she was brave is true, but it has little value without a sense of justice and outrage.”

Christoph Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders said that Caruana Galizia’s name will now be linked to the refusal to accept censorship. He called for more protection for journalists all over the world.

Together with president Tajani Mr. Caruana Galizia then unveiled the new name of the press room 'Salle Daphne Caruana Galizia'.

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API, IFJ, VVJ/AJP DEMAND INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO MURDER OF MALTESE JOURNALIST

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The International Press Association (API-IPA), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ-FIJ) and the Belgian journalist associations VVJ and AJP are shocked by the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne C. Galizia. Our sympathy and condoleances go to her family and colleagues.

The death of Ms. Galizia has to be examined and those responsible brought to justice. This cannot be left to the Maltese authorities alone. There are considerable doubts about their impartiality. Ms. Galizia has been intimidated by politicians in office. On 8 February 2017 a court upheld a request by the Minister for the Economy to freeze her bank account. This was widely believed to be the answer of the government to an article she had published about this minister. Hence, it cannot be taken for granted that the government is not somehow implicated in her death.

We consider the pressure excercised on our Maltese colleague as an infringement of the principles of press freedom and a clear intimidation of our profession. The OSCE has already in February voiced concern about this. The death of Ms. Galizia shows that this situation has gone from bad to worse.

 

We therefore cannot entirely trust the Maltese authorities. A government that does not respect the independence of the press will not hesitate to put pressure on its own administration and judiciary.

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API PROTESTS 'ANGLO-SAXON ONLY' QUESTIONS DURING BREXIT PRESS CONFERENCE

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During today's (12/10) press conference with Brexit negotiatiors Barnier and Davis, only Anglo-Saxon journalists were allowed to ask questions. API president Tom Weingärtner has protested against this practice in a letter to chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas, who moderated the press conference:

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Dear Margaritis,

The press corps has been surprised that out of five questions you admitted at today's press conference with Mr. Davis and Mr. Barnier, four were asked by British colleagues and one by an Irish journalist. It is against the common practice that would give one question out of two to the press of either side of a negotiation. That would have been possible since there were many other colleagues who wanted to ask questions.

API draws your attention to the fact that the press corps is composed not only of anglosaxon journalists but of colleagues from many nationalities, mainly from other EU member states. Their citizens are at least as concerned as the British about the Brexit negotiations.

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FERDINANDO RICCARDI 1928-2017

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Ferdinando R

Ferdinando Riccardi, who has died on 22 September at the age of 89, was for many years the voice and face of Agence Europe. There was a time, not so long ago, when the first duty in the morning of almost every Brussel-based journalist was to leaf through its daily edition. At first, this would have been mostly the blue colour, French-language edition, but in later years it would have increasingly been the pink-colour, English-language edition, as English took over as the lingua franca of Brussels. Riccardi embodied the publication and considered being called a federalist a compliment.

Ferdinando Riccardi was born in Turin and moved to Brussels in 1958. Though he preferred to write and speak in French, his language and perspective, throughout more than half a century in the Belgian capital, was that of a deeply committed European. Every day, every month, year on year, his daily column could be found on the first page of the ‘Bulletin’ of Agence Europe. There he would not only comment on the most recent developments in European politics, he would also often draw upon his own personal experiences and observations of European integration to look towards its long-term future. In an interview with Le Soir in 2011, he recalled that during the Second World War one of his brothers was deported to a concentration camp where he died. “For me, peace is not something we should take for granted,” he said.

Still, Riccardi never lost faith in a positive future for Europe. In the same interview, he added: “When I see the rise of Euroscepticism, this doesn’t make me afraid. With hindsight, historians will say that this movement has helped Europe to move forward.”

In the language of Voltaire, Riccardi was a vieux routier, and in German he was an Urgestein – veteran – among European journalists. Along with Emmanuele Gazzo, the co-founder of Agence Europe, he was for many years one of the most influential writers on European affairs.

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API OBJECTS TO REJECTION OF ACCREDITATION FOR RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS BY TALLINN

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API-IPA has objected against the recent decision by the Estonian EU presidency to deny accreditation to this week's Gymnich informal ministerial in Tallinn for three Russian journalists from newsagency Rossiya Segodnya. One of them is Vladimir Dobrovolskiy, a member of API and a fully EU accredited correspondent in Brussels. As such, he fulfills all the criteria for accreditation set by the European institutions, the Belgian authorities and API.

API finds that as a matter of principle, any journalist who has an accreditation to the European institutions, and whose application has thus been vetted by the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament, as well as by the Belgian security services, should receive an accreditation to any formal or informal meeting organised by or under the auspices of the European Union, wherever they may take place – in Brussels or in one of the member states. For API/IPA that equal treatment is fundamental.

The Estonian authorites motivate their decision by referring to the fact that Rossiya Segodnya is state owned and controlled and therefore not independent, but that condition applies to many news organisations all over the world, even in Europe, and has not prevented them from being accredited to the EU.

API/IPA does not judge its members by the content of their work, or if they are pro or contra the EU or its member states. The EU and its members should be strong enough to counter publications that they consider propaganda, without denying them access to their meetings.

The Estonians point to a resolution by the European Parliament, calling Sputnik (part of the Rossiya Segodnya group) a 'pseudo news agency' because it engages in anti-EU propaganda. But that same European Parliament, through its media services, has approved the EU accreditation for Rossiya Segodnya.

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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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