Freedom of expression is one of the foundations of a democratic and pluralistic society. Its corollary is access for everyone to accurate, reliable and timely information, a key precondition for informed public participation. The role of the media and journalists in seeking out, verifying and distributing information is crucial.

States have the responsibility to provide adequate safeguards, both through law and practice, for the effective enjoyment and protection of freedom of expression, including by creating an enabling environment for free and responsible media to flourish and play their essential role in democracy.

The Council of Europe is well placed to help prevent and address the threats to the exercise of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, both offline and in the online environment.

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Back New study on intimidation of journalists and self-censorship in Europe

New study on intimidation of journalists and self-censorship in Europe

Different forms of violence against journalists have increased significantly over the last decade: from physical attacks, to intimidation and harassment, targeted surveillance and cyberbullying, we now see a range of tactics deployed to silence critical voices and free speech. Together with impunity for the perpetrators of unwarranted interference on journalists, these are among the most serious challenges facing media freedom today. Self-censorship is hardly surprising in such circumstances.

The study “Journalists under pressure”, conducted among almost 1 000 journalists and other news providers in the 47 Council of Europe member states and Belarus, sheds new light on how these issues impact on journalists’ behaviour. The results of the study provide quantitative evidence on such unwarranted interference, fear and how this relates to consequent self-censorship. These striking results confirm the urgent need for member states to fully implement Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors, and represent an essential and reliable tool for strategic planning in this field to guarantee freedom of expression.

"Journalists under pressure"

Interview with the author, Prof. Marilyn Clark of Malta University

Video presentation of the study and its key findings

  Press release

Strasbourg 20 April 2017
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In time of conflict



The right to freedom of expression and information constitutes one of the essential foundations of democratic society. In conflict situations and wars, the role of the media is critical in providing the public with accurate and timely information. Trustworthy news and images can contribute to the protection of civilians and conflict prevention, bring to the attention of the international community the horrors and reality of conflict and expose violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

 Visit the "Freedom of expression in times of conflict" webpage

Journalists Matter Campaign

Journalists Matter, the Council of Europe Campaign for the Safety of Journalists is an initiative aiming to promote press freedom and protect journalists from violence, threats, and harassment while performing their duties. As part of this Campaign, the Council of Europe is inviting everyone to support their cause, take action for their enhanced protection, while raising awareness about the importance of safeguarding journalists and their right to report the news freely and without fear. 

 Visit the "Campaign for the Safety of Journalists" webpage

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

Campaign

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