In a message sent to the 1st Regional journalists’ days meeting held in Sarajevo today, the Commissioner said:
just a few days ago, some journalists of Radio Sarajevo have been attacked. Prior to that, they had received death threats. This is only the latest of many attacks against journalists in the region – and beyond – which are undermining not only press freedom, but the ability of all citizens to access reliable information. Attacks against journalists always go beyond the individual case and concern us all because they endanger journalists as much as democracy.
Last week I published a letter to the Prime Minister of Malta stressing the need to drop the posthumous defamation lawsuits against the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia. A few days earlier, I expressed my concerns about the arrest and fine of Croatian journalist Gordan Duhacek and called on Croatia’s authorities to avoid undue pressure on journalists.
These are just the most recent cases that illustrate the persistent pressure on journalists and their families. Attacks on journalists take different forms – from smear campaigns and verbal and physical threats to repressive legislation, libel and defamation suits and prosecution. They also come from political and economic interferences and concentrations of power that compromise media pluralism and independence.
Such attacks take different forms – from smear campaigns and verbal and physical threats to repressive legislation, libel and defamation suits and prosecution. They also come from political and economic interferences and concentrations of power that compromise media pluralism and independence.
How we all - governments, international organisations, journalists, civil society - respond to these attacks will shape not only the future of the press, but also that of our democracies.
We must keep threats to journalists under a spotlight and maintain pressure on national authorities to ensure their protection, end impunity and improve legislation concerning media freedom.
In the face of mounting pressure, there is a need for stronger action to counter hostility against journalists and to remedy the structural deficiencies in state institutions that should protect them.
I fully support your event. I hope you'll be able to become a strong and vocal network in demanding that states ensure your safety and enable you to work freely and safely."