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Secretary General: Extraordinary Measures as a Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Must Remain Lawful, Proportional to the Threat and Limited in Time

Secretary General's Reply to the Platform's Partner Organisations' Call to Protect Free Flow of Information
Strasbourg 9 April 2020
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Secretary General: Extraordinary Measures as a Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Must Remain Lawful, Proportional to the Threat and Limited in Time

On 9 April 2020, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, wrote to the members of the Council of Europe Platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists in response to their call for determined actions to protect free flow of information to tackle COVID-19, dated 31 March 2020.

 

Download the Secretary General's letter here.


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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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23 September 2020

Investigative Media Outlet "Declassified UK" Blacklisted by the Ministry of Defence

11 September 2020

Journalist Elvis Hila Obstructed and Detained by Police in Albania

10 September 2020

International Election Observers Criticise TVP Election Coverage

4 September 2020

Bulgarian Freelance Journalist Dimitar Kenarov Beaten and Detained by Police while Covering Protest

31 August 2020

Journalists Insulted and Harassed by Demonstrators in Berlin

25 August 2020

Prime Minister Janez Janša Denigrates Journalists

21 August 2020

Crimean Tatar Journalist Nariman Memedeminov Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Jail on Terrorism Charges

17 August 2020

Dismissal of Index News Website Editor further Constricts Media Independence

4 August 2020

TV Journalist Sinan Gluhić Attacked by Politician

3 August 2020

Journalist Bojana Pavlović Harassed in Front of the Police who Confiscated her Phone

31 July 2020

Critical Greek Media Excluded or Side-Lined from State Funding Package during Covid-19

30 July 2020

Blogging Site ‘Medium.com’ Blocked in Albania

28 July 2020

The Dutch Travel Restriction Law Threatens Media Freedom

27 July 2020

Turkey Proposes Social Media Law, Threatening Press Freedom

22 July 2020

Photojournalist Wojciech Atys Taken to Court after Reporting on a Protest

21 July 2020

Death Threats against N1 Journalist Nikola Vučić

16 July 2020

Lawsuits Filed against the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism

16 July 2020

Heavy Fines and Shutdown Threat against Albanian TV Channel

16 July 2020

Media Owner Kastriot Reçi Killed in Albania

16 July 2020

Prime Minister Pressures Online Portals and Information Channels

16 July 2020

News 24 Channel Shuts Down two Critical Talk Shows

16 July 2020

British Journalist Targeted by Smear Campaign

15 July 2020

Slovak Investigative Journalist Peter Sabo Finds Bullet in His Mailbox

9 July 2020

Threats and Insults against Journalists in Faktor.ba Newsroom

7 July 2020

Reporter Eugenija Carl Receives Threatening Letter with White Powder

6 July 2020

Russia Investigates Reporter Svetlana Prokopyeva, Seizes Property over Allegations of "Justifying Terrorism"

2 July 2020

Journalists Attacked and Labelled as "Terrorists" during Far Right Protests in Rome

25 June 2020

Loyalist Threats against Journalists in Northern Ireland

25 June 2020

Threats of Legal Action against Cartoonist Gábor Pápai

16 June 2020

Crimean Tatar Journalists Osman Arifmemetov, Remzi Bekirov and Rustem Sheikhaliev Detained by Russian Authorities

15 June 2020

ZDF Camera Crew Severely Assaulted in Berlin

12 June 2020

Two Journalists, Müyesser Yıldız and İsmail Dükel, Detained by Police for “Military Espionage”; Yıldız Arrested

10 June 2020

TV Journalist Sinan Gluhić Attacked by Politician

10 June 2020

Anti-Refugee Protesters Attack Journalists

9 June 2020

Journalist Metin Uca Sentenced to 14 Months for Tweeting Suspiciously Accurate Election Forecast by State-run News Agency

5 June 2020

Journalist Oleksandr Vlashchenko Assaulted by Unknown Assaillant

29 May 2020

Reporter Fabio Buonafiglio’s Car Set on Fire

29 May 2020

Journalist Gennaro Del Giudice Threatened by Mafia Group

27 May 2020

Smear Campaign Against Four Sport Journalists

26 May 2020

Government Signals Reversal of Commitments to End Jail Penalties for Journalists in Defamation Law

22 May 2020

Investigative News Platform Slidstvo.info Hit with Criminal Probe

22 May 2020

The Work of the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster UA: PBC Blocked, all Accounts Arrested.

19 May 2020

Cartoonist Mahmoud Abbas Threatened with Death

18 May 2020

Portuguese Journalists Banned from Entering Spain

18 May 2020

Exiled Pakistani Journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch Found Dead

18 May 2020

Suspected Plot to Attack an "Irish News" Journalist

18 May 2020

Graffiti Threatens Safety of Northern Ireland Journalist Leona O'Neill

18 May 2020

Continued Impunity for Murder of Journalist Martin O'Hagan in 2001

18 May 2020

Journalist Lyra McKee Killed in Northern Ireland

12 May 2020

Polish Clothing Company LLP Files Lawsuit against two Polish Journalists for Newsweek Poland Article

11 May 2020

Loyalist Threats against Journalists in Northern Ireland

11 May 2020

Fox TV Banned from Broadcast, Anchor Fatih Portakal Faces Three-Year Imprisonment

11 May 2020

Turkish Radio and Television High Council Cancels Broadcast of Northern Cypriot Diyalog TV

11 May 2020

Journalist Ana Lalic Detained Overnight after Reporting on Conditions in Hospital

11 May 2020

Journalist Tetiana Sivokon Attacked while Reporting on Sale of Protective Masks

6 May 2020

Emergency Restrictions Force Media to Suppress Independent Information on COVID-19

6 May 2020

Emergency Restrictions Force Media to Suppress Independent Information on COVID-19

24 April 2020

Chechen President Threatens Journalist Elena Milashina with Death

17 April 2020

Bulgarian Newspaper Editor Slavi Angelov Severely Beaten in Attack by Masked Men in Central Sofia

17 April 2020

Satabank Co-Owner Files SLAPPs against Maltese Blogger Manuel Delia and Times of Malta in Bulgaria

16 April 2020

Threats and Insults against Journalists in Faktor.ba Newsroom

15 April 2020

'La Repubblica' Chief Editor Carlo Verdelli under Police Protection after Receiving Death Threats

15 April 2020

Arson Attack against Holos Sambirshchyny Newspaper

7 April 2020

Slovenian Prime Minister Attacks Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTVS) on Social Media

3 April 2020

Journalist Ana Lalic Detained Overnight after Reporting on Conditions in Hospital

1 April 2020

Government Plan to Strongly Reduce Funding for Public Service Broadcasting

31 March 2020

Bulgarian Newspaper Editor Slavi Angelov Severely Beaten in Attack by Masked Men in Central Sofia

31 March 2020

Satabank Co-Owner Files SLAPPs against Maltese Blogger Manuel Delia and Times of Malta in Bulgaria

28 March 2020

Slovenian Prime Minister Attacks Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTVS) on Social Media

27 March 2020

Slovenian Journalist Blaž Zgaga Targeted by a Defamation and Hate Campaign Led by the New Government

27 March 2020

Media Freedom Advocates Raise Alarm over UK Counter-Terror Bill

27 March 2020

Proposal Set To Increase Prison Sentences For Leaking Official Documents

25 March 2020

Emergency Restrictions Force Media to Suppress Independent Information on COVID-19

24 March 2020

Hungary Seeks Power to Jail Journalists over ‘False Information’ in COVID-19 Coverage

23 March 2020

Hungary Seeks Power to Jail Journalists over ‘False Information’ in COVID-19 Coverage

20 March 2020

Continued Detention of WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange

20 March 2020

Journalists Ian Cobain and Solomon Hughes Denied Accreditation to the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Arms Fair

19 March 2020

Bulgarian Newspaper Editor Slavi Angelov Severely Beaten in Attack by Masked Men in Central Sofia

18 March 2020

Chechen Blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov Assaulted

18 March 2020

Exiled Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli Abducted, Detained and Faces Charges in Azerbaijan

16 March 2020

Pipe Bomb Attack on Cyprus MC Digital Media News Agency Offices

12 March 2020

Public Radio Journalist Sanctioned for Refusing to Broadcast Discriminatory Information

10 March 2020

Slovak Columnist Charged with Criminal Defamation for Criticism of Priest

2 March 2020

The Work of the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster UA: PBC Blocked, all Accounts Arrested.

27 February 2020

Spanish Journalist Raquel Guillán Assaulted While Reporting Live on TV

27 February 2020

Journalist Katarzyna Wlodkowska Faces Investigation Following Report on Assassination of Mayor

27 February 2020

Thomas Jacobi, a Journalist Working for La Croix and Deutsche Welle, Attacked in Athens by Far-Right Protesters

14 February 2020

Two Journalism Students Arrested in Lille while Photographing Police Officers

14 February 2020

A French Police Union Releases a List of Journalists Described as Enemies of the National Police

11 February 2020

Thomas Jacobi, a Journalist Working for La Croix and Deutsche Welle, Attacked in Athens by Far-Right Protesters

27 January 2020

Ukraine’s Draft Law on Combating Disinformation and Regulating Media Activity Threatens Freedom of Speech

24 January 2020

Head of the Russian Republic of Chuvashia says Critical Journalists Should be “Wiped Out”

24 January 2020

Russian State News Agency Sputnik Shuts Tallinn Bureau Under Pressure From Estonian Police

23 January 2020

Thomas Jacobi, a Journalist Working for La Croix and Deutsche Welle, Attacked in Athens by Far-Right Protesters

21 January 2020

Journalist Miodrag Sovilj Targeted by Smear Campaign after Interviewing President Vučić

14 January 2020

New “Anti-defamation” Legislative Package Threatens Online Media Freedom

10 January 2020

Journalist Anđela Đikanović Charged with “Causing Panic and Disorder”

9 January 2020

Russian State News Agency Sputnik Shuts Tallinn Bureau Under Pressure From Estonian Police

6 January 2020

Information Website joqalbania.com Blocked

31 December 2019

Blogger Mehman Huseynov Beaten by Police

20 December 2019

Crimean Tatar Journalists Osman Arifmemetov, Remzi Bekirov and Rustem Sheikhaliev Detained by Russian Authorities

19 December 2019

Journalist Nadège Picard Targeted by Police Fire

19 December 2019

Government Decided to Abolish Public Funding to the Press

19 December 2019

Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio and former MP Battista Insulted Journalists

19 December 2019

Police Searched the Home of Journalist Salvo Palazzolo

19 December 2019

Minister Di Maio Threatens to Reduce Indirect Public Funding to the Press

19 December 2019

Journalist Enrico Nascimbeni Attacked with a Knife in Milan

19 December 2019

Italy: Journalist Sentenced to Four months in Jail for "Trespassing"

19 December 2019

Journalist Daniele Lupo slapped by former Minister

19 December 2019

Italian Newspaper La Repubblica's Headquarters Attacked by Forza Nuova Supporters

19 December 2019

Italian Investigative Journalist Suffered Data Theft In Home Burglary

17 December 2019

Attack on Online Portal Hayeli.am

17 December 2019

New “Anti-defamation” Legislative Package Threatens Online Media Freedom

17 December 2019

Leader of La France Insoumise Party Calls to ‘Badmouth’ France Info Journalists

17 December 2019

Violence Against Reporters During 11 Days of Protests in Armenia

17 December 2019

Lack of Effective Investigation into Police Violence and Obstruction of Journalist’s Work

16 December 2019

Reporters Michael Colborne and Oleksiy Kuzmenko Threatened and Harassed

16 December 2019

Ukrainian Court Rules to Block Access to 17 Online Media

16 December 2019

Threats to the Independence of the Daily "Le Monde"

16 December 2019

Journalist and Blogger Igor Stakh Beaten in Ukraine

16 December 2019

Violent Attack Against France 3 Cameraman

10 December 2019

New “Anti-defamation” Legislative Package Threatens Online Media Freedom

6 December 2019

Journalists Locked Inside the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta Following a Press Conference

5 December 2019

AfD’s Politician Björn Höcke Threatens Journalist of ‘Massive consequences’ over Interview Questions

4 December 2019

Belgian Journalists Nicolas Lahaut and Adrien Heylen Fined and Detained by the Police

4 December 2019

Journalists Covering the G7 Summit Victims of Abusive Police Confiscations and Controls

4 December 2019

Duma Committee Approves Legislation to Label Individual Journalists “Foreign Agents”

2 December 2019

Journalists Locked Inside the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta Following a Press Conference

2 December 2019

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

27 November 2019

New Restrictions on Journalists Working in Hungarian Parliament

27 November 2019

Journalists Banned from Covering the Evacuation of Amazon France's Headquarters

20 November 2019

Duma Committee Approves Legislation to Label Individual Journalists “Foreign Agents”

18 November 2019

TV Reporter Robert Bas Jailed for Refusing to Disclose Source at Murder Trial

14 November 2019

Suspension of Bulgarian National Radio Broadcasts Points to Vulnerability of Editorial Independence

13 November 2019

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan Detained for Words Used on TV

13 November 2019

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan Detained for Words Used on TV

8 November 2019

Violent Arrest of Photo Reporter Albert Garcia

8 November 2019

Twelve Journalists Victims of Violence on the Sidelines of Demonstrations in Catalonia

5 November 2019

Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown following Failed Coup in Turkey

28 October 2019

Slovak Investigative Journalist Jan Kuciak Killed at Home

24 October 2019

Journalists Detained and Subjected to Police Violence while Covering Peaceful Protests

24 October 2019

Draft law Punishing Disclosure of Classified Information Threatens Journalists

21 October 2019

Twelve Journalists Victims of Violence on the Sidelines of Demonstrations in Catalonia

21 October 2019

Ukrainian Journalist Detained and her Equipment Seized by Rome Police

11 October 2019

Brutal Attack on the Ukrainian National News Agency Ukrinform

11 October 2019

TV Channel '112 Ukraine' Kyiv Office Targeted by a Grenade

11 October 2019

Cameraman Vadim Makaryuk Severely Assaulted

10 October 2019

Italian Riot Police Beat La Repubblica Reporter Stefano Origone

7 October 2019

Russia Investigates Reporter Svetlana Prokopyeva, Seizes Property over Allegations of "Justifying Terrorism"