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World Press Freedom Day
Commissioner O'Flaherty calls for greater efforts to protect press freedom

Ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2024, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, issued the following statement:

“Despite a growing awareness of the importance of the press for democracy and of the threats it faces, journalists across Europe face increasing challenges.

Government repression, and a worrying lack of accountability for crimes committed against journalists contribute to a culture of fear and self-censorship. Moreover, the use of vague criminal charges and abusive lawsuits to stifle independent reporting remains a widespread problem. 

Addressing these issues requires police protection for journalists, thorough effective investigations of crimes committed against them, and legislative reforms to protect media professionals from undue pressure. It is also essential to promote awareness and a political discourse that supports journalists. These measures are crucial both for the protection of journalists and to uphold the public's right to have access to information.

An independent, pluralist and ethical press is a public good which serves the public interest. It requires a safe and secure environment. I will play my part in ensuring that journalists can work freely and safely, so that the press can continue to perform its essential role in a democratic society.”

Strasbourg 02/05/2024
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