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Turning point for media freedom in Europe

Bucharest 18-19 May 2017
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Turning point for media freedom in Europe

Patrick Penninckx, the Head of the Council of Europe Information Society Department, delivered a key note speech at the annual meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) held on 18-19 May in Bucharest, Romania. He described the current situation as a “turning point for media freedom” due to dramatic challenges faced by European societies.

He emphasised that media freedom is declining in almost half of the Council of Europe member states; that journalists are increasingly exposed to threats, violence and imprisonment; that media, including the internet, is progressively restricted by national security concerns and that concentration of ownership hinders diversity and independence. He pointed out that the recent study on intimidation of journalists has reported massive unwarranted interference, fear and consequent self-censorship.

Acknowledging that the voice of journalists is crucial in promoting the protection of journalism, he equally stressed the responsibility of states to protect media freedom in accordance with by the Council of Europe latest recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors and resolution on attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe.

Mr Penninckx invited EFJ to play a vital role in defending human rights in Europe which are under severe attack. He stressed that the European Federation of Journalists is a key partner of the Council of Europe in its work to protect journalists and media freedom and media standards, notably through participation in the platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other initiatives.

The meeting was attended by around 90 delegates of the European Federation of Journalists connecting 71 unions/associations representing over 320,000 journalists in 43 countries.

 


The Information Society Department of the Council of Europe has unveiled its report on the state of freedom of expression in Council of Europe member States in 2021.

This annual review, based on the findings of Council of Europe bodies and monitoring mechanisms, is focussed on legal guarantees for freedom of expression, safeguards for the safety of journalists and others who speak up, independent and pluralistic media environment and reliability and trust of information.

Freedom of expression Freedom of expression

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

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"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

 

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