API-IPA congratulates the new president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
In the EU inter-institutional accreditation committee the question has been raised if the current accreditation criteria are still up-to-date, or that they need to be reviewed, taking into account all kinds of new media (bloggers, podcasters, influencers etc.) who can be expected to ask for accreditation. After the summer a special meeting will be dedicated to discuss this issue.
API-IPA has protested the behaviour of members of the new 'Identity and Democray'-group in the European Parliament, during the press conference in the EP press room where they presented themselves last Thursday 13 June. At several instances supporters of the far-right group, who were seated among the journalists, applauded the speakers at the podium. To people watching the press conference on their screens, this gave the impression that journalists were showing support, which was of course not the case.
Michel Theys, one of the most experienced Belgian journalistes covering European affairs for many years, died this week after a serious illness. Mr. Theys (67) has devoted most of his professional career to his two passions, journalism and Europe. He campaigned for a committed and independent press, and defended the project of a political, more democratic Europe, capable of liberating itself from excessive intergovernmentalism.
Last week Irish journalist Lyra McKee was killed while she was reporting on riots in Derry, Northern Ireland. The International Press Association (API-IPA) extends to the partner and family of Lyra McKee and to all Irish journalists our deepest sympathies and condolences on the murder of one of the bravest and most original new voices of Irish journalism.
In his farewell speech as president of API-IPA, Tom Weingärtner deplored the decreasing news value of the European Commission's daily journalists briefing and an unwillingness to provide real answers.
"The news value of daily briefings has plummeted compared to the previous commission when it had already reached an all time low," Weingärtner told API's general assembly.
Our colleague Alvaro Sánchez, who is a correspondent for El Pais in Brussels, was detained and kept in a police van during a demonstration for the climate on the evening of 24 March in front of the Federal Parliament, Rue de la Loi. Alvaro was handcuffed, behind his back, for half an hour, despite the fact that he visibly identified himself as a journalist. He showed an accreditation badge visibly on his neck and stated that he works for the Spanish newspaper.
As their second and last two year term is coming to an end, API-president Tom Weingärtner and vice-president Kris Van Haver will have to step down. And when former vice-president Eric Maurice unexpectedly resigned last August, the API Council appointed its member Dafydd ab Iago as interim vice-president until the next assembly, conform art. 7.3a of the API-IPA statutes. This means that the 2019 General Assembly on Tuesday 2 April will have to elect a new president and two vice-presidents.
The International Press Association (API-IPA) is surprised and irritated about the fact that the Belgian authorities this week sent invoices, demanding a €50 payment, to several accredited foreign correspondents in Belgium. The fee supposedly covers (mandatory) security screening for obtaining accreditation to the October 2018 European summit held in Brussels.
On Tuesday 11 December, five people were killed in a random terrorist attack at Strasbourg's traditional Christmas market. Two of the victims were journalists: Italian Antonio Megalizzi (29) and his friend Bartek Niedzelski (36) from Poland. Megalizzi covered the European Parliament in Strasbourg, while Niedzelski wrote for local media and was also a well-known figure in the city's cultural life.
The International Press Association (API-IPA) – official representative of the foreign journalists in Brussels – is very concerned about the arrest, on Friday 30 November, of French journalist Rémy Buisine whilst reporting about the 'yellow vests' demonstration in the Brussels' city center.
The European Council has announced that its so-called 6-months badge for journalists wanting to attend European summit meetings, will be replaced by a badge that will be valid for one year – something that API has long asked for. It saves us the trouble of having to apply every six months: from now on once a year will be enough. Journalists can apply until the end of November.
Foreign correspondents in Brussels today commemorated Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese investigative journalist who was murdered exactly a year ago, while investigating corruption at the highest political level in Malta.
In the press room of the European Commission journalists and spokespeople held a minute's silence and a commemoration was also held at the entrance of the International Press Center Residence Palace.
The International Press Association (API-IPA) is shocked by the brutal murder of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova of tv-station TVN. API-IPA strongly condemns this crime against a journalist who was doing her work, by investigating fraud with EU-funds. We expect the Bulgarian authorities to do their utmost to investigate the truth and to bring the perpetrators of this horrible act to justice.
The API Council has unanimously chosen Council-member Dafydd ab Iago as interim Vice-President of the association, after the departure of Vice-President Eric Maurice, who recently left EUObserver and journalism for the Brussels office of the Robert Schuman Foundation.
Dafydd ab Iago, currently representative in the Council of the British media, will be Vice-President until the next General Assembly, in March 2019, conform article 7.3a of the API-statutes.
(version francaise ci-dessous)
The International Press Association (API-IPA) is greatly concerned by Austrian interior ministry instructions to national police "blacklisting" and restricting communication with government-critical media to "the most necessary". The instructions also aimed at providing preferential treatment to government-friendly media.
(Version francaise ci-dessous)
Belgian authorities are reviewing their plans to charge a €50 security screening fee to journalists seeking for accreditation to European Council summit meetings.
Thanks to campaigning by the International Press Association (API-IPA), representing Brussels-based foreign journalists, together with Belgian journalist unions VVJ and AJP, Belgian authorities have now signaled an exemption for journalists.
The exemption requires an amendment to a Belgian law passed in February 2018.