On 20 March 2023, Patrick Penninckx, Head of the Information Society Department of the Council of Europe, met with students from Syracuse University Strasbourg Programme. His presentation focused on the current state of Media Freedom in Europe and the Council of Europe efforts to enhance journalist safety. Drawing on recent examples of disinformation and misinformation following the aggression of Russia on Ukraine and the attacks on journalism safety and freedom as reported on the Safety of Journalist Platform he underlined the importance of journalism as a guardian of democracy and freedom of expression. Nevertheless, at the end of 2022, there were 127 journalists in prison in Europe.
Participants also had a chance to learn about the Council of Europe responses to these challenges, namely assistance and cooperation with member States in changing their policies, legislation and practices to effectively protect and promote freedom of expression and media freedom in line with the adopted standards. As a corollary, the Council of Europe will launch in October 2023 a continent-wide campaign for the safety of journalists aimed at increasing the safety and security of journalists and other media actors in all situations.