Freedom of expression, media freedom and safety of journalists
Free, independent and pluralistic media based on freedom of information and expression is a core element of any functioning democracy. Freedom of the media is in fact essential for the protection of all other human rights. Instances of torture, discrimination, corruption or misuse of power many times have come to light because of the work of investigative journalists. Making the facts known to the public is often the first, essential step to start redressing human rights violations and hold governments accountable.
Worrying signals of repression and violations of media freedom can be observed in a number of European states. Different forms of control and pressure over the variety and content of media hamper their independence and pluralism. Cases of journalists who are deprived of their liberty because of their work continue to occur. Cases of harassment, intimidation, violence - and even murder - have been documented.
During her country visits and continuous dialogue with national authorities, media professionals and civil society, the Commissioner gathers information, identifies shortcomings and provides advice on ways to improve media freedom and the protection and safety of journalists.
She also supports initiatives aimed at strengthening media professionalism and ethical journalism and the establishment of self-regulatory mechanisms.