In 2019, media freedom in Europe was threatened in many ways, also within the European Union.
According to the new report of the European Council’s „Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists“ in 2019 there were 142 serious threats, including 33 physical attacks against journalists and 17 new cases of detention and imprisonment.
The report was compiled by media organizations like IPI, Article 19 and „Association of European Journalists“ (AEJ). Our media-freedom-representative William Horsley was member of the 4person-editorial team.
Some findings of the report:
At the end of 2019, at least 105 journalists were behind bars in Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and the Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
· Political controls over information have grown tighter and more advanced by means of state or oligarchic ownership of media, intrusive surveillance and targeted cyber-attacks, closure of critical media outlets and online portals, and judicial and administrative harassment of journalists and other media actors.
· Those responsible for the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia (2017) were not yet brought to justice. The background of the murder of Slovak reporter Jan Kuciak (shot together with his fiance in 2018) was not fully unveiled although the murderer was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment.
· At the video-press-conference to present the yearbook on April 29th the consequences of the Covid19-crisis were addressed. “European Federation of Journalists”(EFJ)-General Secretary Ricardo Gutierrez said that journalists lost „tens of thousands of jobs“ because of the pandemic. Publishers need urgently financial aid through national governments and EU-sources while safeguarding independent reporting. AEJ-media freedom representative William Horsley mentionned that emergency laws introduced in many countries because of the Covid19-disease must not restrict media freedom.