The AEJ’s Congress in Kilkenny in south-eastern Ireland on 4 -6 November debated Brexit and the rise of demagoguery, the threat to journalism in a brave new media world, and talk of a so-called ‘post-truth era’, under the overall theme of ‘The changing face of Europe and its media ’.
A single idea underpinned the discussion among the 70 journalists from some 20 countries who met against the magnificent backdrop of Kilkenny castle. It was that the good times in Europe over the past 70 years have been founded on a respect for freedom of speech and the rule of law. Those foundations have been violently shaken and both are looking fragile. Those half-conjoined twins – Europe’s politics and its media – have both suffered a catastrophic loss of public trust. The future is unknowable, and it doesn’t look nice.
Resolutions and a renewed commitment to journalism’s role
At the Kilkenny Congress the AEJ publicly marked the 2 November UN International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and recalled that journalists have been killed with impunity in the past ten years in European states, including Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece and Poland.
And AEJ members adopted three Resolutions (see other website entries) opposing the persecution of journalists in Turkey, protesting the lack of protections against the loss of high-quality media outlets in Poland and Hungary, and asking the EU to reverse its threat to end its funding support for the Euranet public-interest radio service.
The AEJ stands by the watchdog role of journalism. We have all seen what happens when it is not there.
All the national sections report and AEJ board reports are attached to this article.
AEJ special representative for Brussels report 2016