The environment for media freedom has worsened significantly in the Council of Europe area, according to a report published today by the partner organisations to the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists.
The report “Democracy at Risk: threats and attacks against media freedom in Europe” assesses the situation of media freedom in Europe based on the 140 serious media freedom violations reported to the platform in 2018.
According to the report, the number of attacks on journalists has grown continuously. The number of threats reported, including death threats, doubled last year and there has been no progress in a number of long-standing cases of impunity for murder of journalists. In addition, journalists continue to be arbitrarily detained while a number of new legislative initiatives have weakened media freedom.
In a meeting in Strasbourg, the partner organisations presented the report to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, who thanked them for their continued involvement in the platform.
The Secretary General agreed with the partners that strong and concerted political action from member states and the organisation is needed to reverse the trend of eroding conditions for media freedom and to improve protections for journalists.
“Freedom of expression is crucial for the realisation of all other human rights and it deserves the highest attention of our member states. The report can serve as a basis for dialogue with the member states on the ways to improve the media freedom environment”, said the Secretary General.
The Council of Europe Platform was set up by the Council of Europe in 2015, in co-operation with prominent international NGOs active in the field of the freedom of expression and associations of journalists, to provide information which may serve as a basis for dialogue with member states about possible protective or remedial action.
The twelve platform partners are: the European Federation of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the Association of European Journalists, Article 19, Reporters without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Censorship, the International Press Institute, the International News Safety Institute, Rory Peck Trust, the European Broadcasting Union and PEN International.