The latest in-depth reports for the Council of Europe on the State of Media Freedom in Europe finds that physical assaults and judicial harassment of journalists and media workers in southern and eastern Europe grew more intense in the second half of 2012. A large numbers of attacks have gone unreported, as self-censorship has grown routine in some countries. The report was written by AEJ Media Freedom representative William Horsley at the request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The investigation found that cases of violent physical assaults, harassment and direct intimidation against media workers have continued unremittingly in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and parts of south-eastern Europe.
Recent months have been marked in those regions by persistent patterns of state behaviour involving the enforcement of oppressive or ill-defined laws, and abuses of authority including arbitrary detention and excessive use of force against media workers, bloggers and others who exercise their civil and political rights, including the right to express their opinions freely.
Much of that violence has occurred at the hands of police or other public officials, who should be responsible for enforcing the laws protecting free speech and the work of journalists in the public interest.
The persistent and in many places worsening situation is reflected in detailed reports by national and international monitoring bodies, and points to the conclusion that more determined collective actions by European governments are needed.
Read the full PACE Report covering the second half of 2012 here