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Two New Partners join the Platform to Protect Journalists

Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists now includes 14 partners
Strasbourg 11 September 2019
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Two New Partners join the Platform to Protect Journalists

Free Press Unlimited and European Centre for Press and Media Freedom today became partners of the Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, through which organisations promoting media freedom inform the Council of Europe about serious concerns about the safety of journalists and alleged attacks to media freedom.

 

Ruth Kronenburg, Director of Operations at Free Press Unlimited, and Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, signed the agreement to join the platform during a meeting with the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

 

The two new partners join another 12 organisations and institutions already active in the platform: Article 19, the Association of European Journalists, Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Broadcasting Union, the European Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists, the International News Safety Institute, the International Press Institute, Pen International, Reporters Without Borders and the Rory Peck Trust.

 

Their last media freedom report provides a disturbing picture of the worsening general environment for the media across Europe: the number of attacks on journalists has grown continuously, reported threats doubled last year and there has been no progress in a number of long-standing cases of impunity for murder of journalists.

 

In 2019, the partners have so far published 94 alerts concerning 21 countries, two of them referring to the killing of journalists. Since April 2015, when the platform was launched, the partner organisations have published 604 alerts concerning 39 Council of Europe member states. They refer to physical attacks on journalists, including murder, the detention and imprisonment of journalists, impunity, harassment or intimidation of journalists, and other acts that have a chilling effect on media freedom.


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Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts

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”.