Category Archives: Europe

Impressions of Sarajevo

I was in Sarajevo for my last meeting as a member of the EFJ steering committee (board) and the Federation’s general meeting held between 24 – 27 April. Having served three three yearly terms over the past 12 years, I was longer eligible to stand for the steering committee.

Sarajevo is best known for three events. The first is the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife on 28th June 1914, which led to the outbreak of the First World War. The second is that it was the venue for the winter Olympic Games in 1984. The third and more recent is the siege of the city for 1,425 days between 5 April 1992 and 29 February 1996, during the civil war in the former republic of Yugoslavia. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was encircled by the army of Republika Srpska and by the time the siege was raised a total of 13,952 people had been killed including 5,434 civilians. It had lasted a year longer than the siege of Leningrad. A year later a report by the Council of Europe’s Committee on Culture and Education commented:

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EU threatens investigative journalism

On 14 April, eleven days after the Panama Papers confirmed the central role of journalists and whistle-blowers in revealing illegal or unethical business practices, the European Parliament approved rules to protect corporate trade secrets that could seriously hinder future revelations. Although the purpose of the Trade Secrets Directive is to protect firms within the EU from corporate espionage by foreign rivals, on closer examination many feel that business could use the law to prosecute journalists and whistle-blowers for exposing corporate bad behavior.

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Can Dündar and Erdem Gül: the Foreign Office expresses concern

Today I have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Turkey Desk, Europe Directive) to a letter I wrote on 12 February to the Foreign Secretary, in which I called on the government to, amongst other things, put out a statement condemning the Turkish authorities over their treatment of Can and Erdem and support calls for their immediate release. My blog of 27 February reported their subsequent release and I updated the Foreign Office on these developments, but still asked what action they were taken over widespread concerns about the state of press freedom in Turkey. Their reply is as follows:

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