Unwarranted interference with journalists
Commissioned by the Council of Europe, this survey was carried out between April and July 2016 via an anonymous online questionnaire sent mostly to journalists belonging to five major journalists´ and freedom of expression organisations. It aims to contribute evidence-based data to the debate on how to address threats to media freedom, which have experienced a significant increase in Europe in recent years.
Nearly a third of respondents (31%) had experienced physical assault over a period of three years. The most common interference, reported by 69% of the journalists, was psychological violence, including humiliation, intimidation, threats, slandering and smear campaigns. The second most common interference was cyberbullying, reported by 53%, mostly in the form of accusations of being partisan, personal attacks, public defamation and smear campaigns. Reports of intimidation from interest groups were the third most frequent interference mentioned (50%), followed by threats with force (46%), intimidation by political groups (43%), targeted surveillance (39%) and intimidation by the police (35%).