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Proactive lobbying transparency measures welcomed by civil society but loopholes remain

altMadrid, 27 November 2014 – Access Info Europe has welcomed the 25 November decision by the European Commission to proactively publish information about meetings between high level officials and lobbyists, but has raised concerns that the measures do not go far enough and contain loopholes which could seriously undermine the transparency initiative.

Of particular concern is the lack of independent criteria for ascertaining whether or not the name of a particular lobbyist should be withheld from the public, with this hinging solely on whether or not the lobbyists provide “unambiguous consent”.

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First International Freedom of Expression Mission to Spain 1-3 December

Concerns include abuse of defamation laws, regulation of broadcast media, and the right of access to information

VideojournalistMadrid, 26 November 2014 - A mission of international freedom of expression experts will visit Spain during 1-3 December 2014 in order to gather information about levels of press freedom, freedom of expression and the right of access to information.

The first mission of its kind, it is led by the International Press Institute (IPI) in coordination with Access Info Europe, and includes representatives of leading media freedom groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the European Federation of Journalists, and the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

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¡Sign up! Training for journalists and lawyers on protection from defamation in Spain

Madrid, 25 November 2014 – There are only a few places left to attend Spain's first-ever international training for journalists and lawyers on freedom of expression, and how to protect against abusive defamation cases, which are all too common in Spain.

¡Sign up now!

The Opening Panel of the training will take place on 27 November at 10:00 CET at the Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid building, and will explain the situation in Spain and the effect of defamation on Spanish journalism. International experts from the International Press Institute, Media Legal Defense Initiative, and Access Info Europe, and national experts such as Borja Bergareche, Antonio Rubio, Pilar Velasco, and Juan Luis Ortega, will be present.

The trainings are open to journalists and lawyers interested in freedom of the press, and live online streaming will also be available. Those interested in attending the trainings (27 to 28 November, from 10:00 to 17:00; lunch included) are asked to sign up in advance.

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European Commission Vice President challenges institutions to be transparent about meetings with lobbyists

Frans_Timmermans_Freedom_Online_Tunis_June_16th_2013Madrid, 21 November 2014 - This Wednesday, Vice-President Timmermans, responsible for transparency and better regulation, challenged the European Parliament and Council to follow the Commission's lead on lobby transparency. The statement was made after the college of Commissioners debated Jean Claude Juncker's promised to proactively publish information about meetings with lobbyists.

The European Commission has announced that, as of 1 December 2014, EU Commissioners, all cabinet staff and high level officials such as Directors General will implement a series of initiatives which, according to Vice President Timmermans, include “full transparency” on Commissioners' agendas and proactive publication of lobby information so that citizens can follow what interests are represented in meetings with Commissioners.

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