In 2022, since Russia’s launched its war of aggression against Ukraine, at least 12 journalists and media workers were killed and 21 injured while performing their professional duties. The war occurred in a context of continued degradation of press freedom across Europe, with a significant increase in the number of journalists in detention, according to the 2023 annual report of the partner organisations of the Council of Europe’s Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists.
Released under the title “War in Europe and the fight for the right to report”, the report examines the main threats to media freedom in Europe and addresses recommendations to the Council of Europe, the European Union and their member states on actions needed to improve the situation. During 2022, the platform published 289 alerts on serious threats or attacks to media freedom across 37 states, with journalists being murdered, imprisoned, attacked, legally harassed and subjected to smear campaigns. This number includes alerts concerning Russia, since the partner organisations decided to continue monitoring the state of media freedom and attacks against journalists in Russia, after its expulsion from the Council of Europe in March 2022.
Welcoming the publication of the report, Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić said: “We have seen a disturbing increase in attacks and threats against journalists in recent years. Many journalists have shown courage and others paid with their lives for the right to report following Russia’s aggression of Ukraine. The fact that many of these attacks go unpunished threatens the very foundation of our societies. I call on member states to take this issue seriously and fully respect and protect the rights of journalists, ensure their safety, protect their sources and prevent censorship and other forms of interference in their work.”
Safety of Journalists platform 2023 report: a war on journalism in parts of Europe, increased number of journalists in detention