AEJ journalists view governments’ hostility to private media as ‘attack on free speech’
Monday, November 07, 2016
The AEJ general assembly meeting
in Kilkenny, Ireland on Saturday deplores the economic, political and
police pressure which is being put by certain Council of Europe member
governments on privately owned media. Most recently this has been
evident in Hungary, Poland and Turkey and has affected the Nepszabadsag, Gazeta
Wyborcza and Cumhuriyet daily newspapers in these countries.
In Turkey the governement is
appointing administrators to run commercial publications and siezing assets
while journalists are being arrested and commercial companies are pressurised
to refrain from advertising in critical publications including Cumhuriyet.
In Hungary Nepszabadsag, an
independent publication, has been suspended and sold by its owners to Opimus, a
company sympathetic to the present Hungarian government.
In Poland Gazeta Wyborcza has
seen its advertising revenues from state controlled companies contribute to an
overall fall in 2016 by 20 per cent while the revenues of some government
supporting publications are up threefold.
This suggests that the state is
actively intervening to skew the media landscape in its favour.
The state must abstain from such
activities and remain neutral towards the private media. Otherwise media
freedom and freedom of speech cannot be assured.