Registration open for the event “Enhancing the Safety of Journalists in Europe”

14 October 2020
Strasbourg 5 October 2020
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Registration open for the event “Enhancing the Safety of Journalists in Europe”

The Information Society Department of the Council of Europe has the pleasure to invite you to the event “Enhancing the Safety of Journalists in Europe” to be held on-line on 14 October 2020.

The first part of the event is dedicated to the launch of the book “A Mission to Inform: Journalists at Risk Speak Out” featuring key Council of Europe officials and the authors, Prof Marilyn Clark and Mr William Horsley (13.00 -14.30 CET).

In the second part, two panels will discuss ways to put an end to impunity for attacks on and online harassment of journalists (15.00 – 17.45 CET).

The event will gather Council of Europe officials, academics and experts from the field as well as journalists’ associations and other media representatives. The event will be held in English.

  • The full agenda of the event could be found here.
  • To register, please fill in this form.
  • Speakers' bios can be found here.

Background note

Journalists across Council of Europe member states face various forms of pressure and intimidation meant to silence and hinder their “mission to inform”. This is worrying given that democratic societies can only function if media actors can report on matters of public interest without interference and without fear.

Protecting freedom of expression and promoting a safe work environment for journalists is a priority for the Council of Europe. Along with developing tools and mechanisms to enhance the protection of journalists, the Council of Europe also strives to better understand the pressures investigative journalists face in their work in order to help member states address the issue effectively.

In 2017 the Council of Europe published the study Journalists under Pressure: Unwanted Interference, Fear and Self-Censorship in Europe (co-authored by Prof. Marilyn Clark and Prof. Anna Grech). The Study analysed nearly 1000 questionnaires answered by journalists from all Council of Europe member states and Belarus and revealed grave statistics concerning the risks faced by media actors over the last years. To better interpret the results of this study and identify specific means to address these risks, the Council of Europe has commissioned a follow-up qualitative research, whose aim is to analyse how journalists responded to pressures exerted on them and what solutions they found to overcome fear and continue being able to fulfil their public watchdog mission.

The findings of this research are discussed in the book A Mission to Inform: Journalists at Risk Speak Out (co-authored by Prof. Marilyn Clark and Mr William Horsley). The book is based on first-hand in-depth interviews with 20 journalists from 18 member states. Among those interviews is also the last interview given by Daphne Caruana Galizia. Ten days after testifying for this research about the dangers of her profession she was killed in the context of her brave reporting on corruption issues.

The current event, which coincides with the third commemoration of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death, aims to provide a forum for reflection on the findings and conclusions of this powerful study. It hopes to launch a discussion about the growing risks faced by journalists while exercising their profession, about possible solutions to mitigate such risks and to urge political action at both national and international levels.