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International conference in San Marino: journalists must be free to inform

Media freedom was at the centre of an international conference for journalists and publishers organised in San Marino by the Information Guarantor Authority on 11 March 2023.

The training seminar took stock of latest press freedom trends and risks around the world, with reporters facing prosecution and intimidations while performing their job.

A media-friendly overview of the impact of the Council of Europe conventions and main policies in the country was presented.

These include a landmark recommendation to all member states on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, who have been subject to increasing violence and intimidation in Europe over recent years.  On the ground, these guidelines are helping national authorities to prevent crimes against journalists, to protect those at risk and to prosecute perpetrators.

Further implementation of these guidelines is vital given that the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists has registered more “alerts” over recent years, highlighting the increased risks that journalists face as they go about their work.  Physical threats and violence, including murders, have increased in number, and often with impunity. 

A presentation made by the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s CEO Antonio Zappulla at the event also showed that the number of reporters arrested and denounced by those in power has dramatically increased. 

Other speakers included the Secretary of State for Information Teodoro Lonfernini, President of the Information Guarantor Authority, Francesco Bongarrà and President of the Council for Information Roberto Chiesa.

Separately, the Council of Europe is at work on a recommendation to tackle the increased use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), which are designed to intimidate and prevent media workers, authors and others from doing their work for fear of prosecution. The new guidance will help national authorities to put the rights laws and practice in place to end the SLAPPS culture and ensure freedom of speech.

The Italian language web portal and Twitter account proved to be key to facilitate Council of Europe media coverage in San Marino.  Watch the RTV San Marino report on the event!

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