The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) annual meeting was held in Moscow last week and it was my first visit to Russia since the dramatic and turbulent days of Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. Then one Rouble was worth one Pound Sterling. Now 100 Roubles are worth £1.40! That’s not all that has changed of course, but that’s another story!
We were the guests of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) who are facing increasing opposition from the Russian government for their brave stand in defence of ethical, honest and independent journalism. It has cost many journalists their lives, 56 since 1992 and their pictures hang as a grim reminder in the main hall of the union’s headquarters, situated in Nikita Boulevard, only a few minutes drive from the Kremlin and ‘Red’ (Beautiful) Square. Continue reading Moscow revisited
The opening of the EFJ annual meeting in Belgrade on 15 June was an important occasion for Serbian journalists. Present, with security personnel in attendance and a host of national and local media, was Boris Tadic President of the Republic of Serbia. He first assumed office in 2004 as leader of the Democratic Party. He was elected President again in 2008 and believes in Serbia’s full integration with the European Union, but only if sovereignty over Kosovo is respected. Between 1980 and 1996 he was married to a journalist but they divorced. He subsequently married again. Before giving his welcoming address, in which he referred to his determination to ‘fight for free journalism’ and ‘a free media’, he listened to speeches from the heads of the three Serbian journalist unions/associations, the Journalists’ Union of Serbia; the Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia. All three made critical comments about the state of journalism in the country, in contrast to the ‘smooth words’ of the President.
Continue reading The unacceptable state of Serbian journalism