â€“ Council of Europe Secretary General ThorbjÃ¸rn Jagland has warned that close
and non-transparent relationships between media and governments are a risk to
pluralistic societies. In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day he said:
expression is a fundamental right, enshrined in the European Convention on Human
Rights. A free press is vital for any democracy. Elected politicians have a duty
to ensure that journalists can work freely and without fear of state repression.
The Council of Europe promotes press freedom by advising governments on media
legislation and, where necessary, by helping member states to meet their
obligations under the Convention through specific co-operation programmes.
â€œBut the onus
is not on governments alone. Pluralistic societies are at risk when media try to
exert influence on governments to gain economic advantage and business ties
between journalists and politicians remain undisclosed.
of people's right to privacy (also protected by the Convention) through illegal
practices, such as phone hacking, is equally damaging to democracies. The
evidence emerging from the Leveson inquiry into media ethics in the UK is a
stark reminder to journalists and governments of their shared responsibility to
safeguard a free press. Europe's citizens have a right to it."
For more information see: www.coe.int / www.coe.ge