REPORT OF API-IPA’S 2022 GENERAL ASSEMBLY – 14 JULY 2022

API-IPA held its 2022 General Assembly on July 14th. For the first time in three years we met in physical format. Around 25 members were present. The first part of the meeting was chaired by vice-president Teresa Küchler, the second part by president Katalin Halmai.

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ATTRACTIVE NEW JOBS FOR THE TWO PINOS

Did someone say that the two Pinos have actually retired? API can reveal that this is total fake news. We proudly announce that we have recruited both of them on a long term basis for our football team. 

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IN MEMORIAM KHALID FAROOQI: 1961-2022

It is with great sadness that API has learned of the sudden death of our long-time member Khalid Farooqi, correspondent for Geo News TV from Pakistan. Mr Farooqi suffered a heart attack just after arriving in Brussels by bus from London. He leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter. 

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Investigation Demanded in Case of API Member Held by UK Authorities Under Counter Terrorism Act

In a letter to the Home Secretary of the UK government, Priti Patel, API-IPA and four other organisations of journalists have demanded an investigation into why British API-member Martin Banks recently was held and interrogated for six hours by UK border guards about his activities as a journalist, under the UK's Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act. 

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COLLECTIVE AUTHORISATION FOR API-MEMBERS TO MAKE IMAGES OF BELGIAN NUCLEAR INSTALLATIONS

 At the end of January, the Belgian Parliament adopted a change to a law prohibiting the taking of photographs or films of nuclear installations in Belgium without prior consent, under penalty of heavy fines and possibly even imprisonment. This "in the interests of public safety". Initially, this tightening of an existing law (dd. 23.03.2020) also applied to journalists (photographers, cameramen) who take such pictures, or the media that publish or distribute them. There were no exceptions listed. Without prior permission, only images that had been 'blurred' could be published.

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THIS IS OUR JOB – Study Sheds Light on Brussels Press Corps

Last autumn, the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU carried out an in depth study among and of Brussels correspondents on their work, their working conditions and their professional expectations. Main objective was to gain insight into how correspondents perceive their work and that of the press services of the EU institutions, amidst all the developments of recent years. This has been particularly reinforced by the corona pandemic, which has profoundly changed the way in which journalists report from Brussels.

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REPORT OF API’S ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY – THURSDAY 30.09.2021

The annual general assembly was held online for the second time. Due to the strict corona-rules still in place in Brussels, it was not possible to organize a physical or even hybrid meeting. The general assembly must take place at least once a year, preferably in the first semester. We hope to be able to return to a normal schedule next year. This assembly was attended by 27 members.

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INVITATION TO THE ONLINE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2021

 Members are invited to attend API-IPA's ONLINE annual general assembly on Thursday 30 September 2021, at 10:30h

Due to the worsening corona-situation in Brussels and the restrictions ordered by the local authorities, the Residence Palace has informed us that is not possible to hold our assembly in physical (hybrid) format in one of their meeting rooms. The meeting will therefore be fully online.

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IN MEMORIAM: Franco Papitto (1943 - 2021)

It is with great sadness that API-IPA has learned of the death of Franco Papitto, an early API member and member of the API Council, and for decades the figurehead of the Italian correspondents in Brussels.

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IN MEMORIAM: Mikel Aguirre Amantegui (1957 - 2021)

Mikel Aguirre had chosen a motto that fit him neatly: "I go and I come back and vice versa." Unfortunately, this time he won't be coming back. Mikel left us last Friday at the age of 63. Colleagues in Brussels and in particular the International Press Association will always have fond memories of a meticulous journalist and an endearing personality. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, his family and his many friends.

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IN MEMORIAM NORBERT SCHWAIGER (1937 – 2021)

For decades Norbert Schwaiger, who passed away in Munich on February 1st at the age 83 years, was a very familiar face to Brussels based journalists. In 1975, at the age of 38, he became the head of the Press Service of the Council of Ministers. He remained in this position until his retirement in 2002.

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Belgian Travel Rules for Journalists

Update 28 january 2021
The Belgian journalists' unions provided us with this very useful information

The Belgian government has recently introduced new measures with regard to travel and professional activities. As always, interpreting these rules can be challenging.

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NO INCREASED MEDIA ACCESS YET TO COUNCIL MEETINGS

Last week API sent a letter to EU Council secretary-general Mr. Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, asking for more access and facilities for journalists during European Council and ministerial meetings in these Covid-times (see our letter below). We received a reply from Mr. Tranholm-Mikkelsen which unfortunately offers no perspective in the short term on changes in our working conditions at the Council, due to the Covid restrictions. Here is the letter from the secretary-general to API president Katalin Halmai:

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API ASKS MORE ACCESS FOR JOURNALISTS TO THE COUNCIL

The Covid pandemic is having an increasingly negative impact on the way we can do our work as Brussels correspondents. API wants more opportunities for journalists to directly and closely report on European summits and ministerials. In a letter to Council secretary-general Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, API calls in particular for journalists to be allowed access to the doorsteps of leaders and ministers on arrival and departure at the Lipsius or Europa buildings. 

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API ASKS EU COUNCIL FOR STAND-UP POSITION FOR AV-MEDIA

API has, not for the first time, asked the Council of the EU to provide a proper stand-up position during European summits for TV-crews in front of the Lipsius/Europa-buildings, since access to those buildings is not possible because of the Covid-restrictions. Below is the letter API sent to the Director-General for Communication of the Council, Reijo Kemppinen.

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REPORT OF API’S ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY – THURSDAY 01.10.2020

The annual general assembly was originally planned for early April 2020. But due to the corona-crisis the event had to be cancelled at that time. It was not possible to organize it again in the following months, The API statutes state that an assembly must take place at least once a year. Therefore the API Council decided that the assembly would take place online, via the Zoom-platform. About 30 members attended.

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2020

API-IPA's annual general assembly will take place ONLINE on Thursday 1 October 2020, at 10:00h

The annual general assembly was originally planned for early April of this year. But due to the corona-crisis the event had to be cancelled at that time. In the following months it was not possible to organise it again, The API statutes state that an assembly must take place at least once a year. Therefore the API Council has decided that the assembly will take place online, via the Zoom-platform.

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TRAVEL INFO FOR CORRESPONDENTS TO STRASBOURG AND GERMANY

From 14 to 17 September the European Parliament will hold its first 'normal' plenary session since March in Strasbourg. And the German EU presidency still has a few 'physical' ministerial meetings planned in Germany. That raises travel issues for Brussels correspondents wanting to attend those meetings in person.

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IN MEMORIAM UGO PICCIONE 1928-2020

It is with great sadness that API learned of the death on 20 June of Ugo Piccione, former president of API-IPA and a well known Brussels correspondent from the sixties well into the eighties.

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COVID-19 AND JOURNALIST’S ACCESS TO THE EU INSTITUTIONS

The restrictive measures resulting from the corona crisis in Belgium are being slowly and gradually lifted. Then, of course, comes the question when the European institutions will follow, and when we will again have access as usual to the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. The simple answer can be short: not any time soon. 

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