Tue, 16 April 2024

Press freedom: its enemies and who is for us

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from William Horsley, UK chairman, London, with Kyriakos Pierides, Media Freedom spokesman, Nicosia. July 24, 2023

The AEJ’s Belgian Section published an interview with WH, veteran coordinator of AEJ relations with the Council of Europe with analysis and highlights from the 2023 Report of the 15 Council of Europe Platform partner organisations. Brussels Morning also published a summary version of the record of EU backsliding on media freedom.

Ricardo Gutierrez of the European Federation of Journalists and WH had inter-active exchanges with CoE delegates on key problem areas for media freedom and journalists’ safety based on the action-oriented Recommendations for the member states in the 2023 Platform report. The Report has clear, well-documented evidence based on nearly 300 individual alerts during 2022.

The Platform partners’ report was once again influential and much-cited in the EU Commission’s 2023 Rule of Law report which has just come out.

The CoE’s Europe-wide Journalists Matter campaign is to be  launched in October 2023 and to continue till 2027 in all European states (except non-Council members Russia & Belarus).

As the AEJ coordinator of our engagement with the Platform, WH accepted the invitation to attend the conference in Riga, Latvia, on October 5 and 6, when the campaign will be officially launched.

William Hosley, AEJ coordinator with CoE

The campaign will provide opportunities for AEJ national sections and other media, as well as legal and NGO stakeholders to push for legislative and other reforms to protect journalists. The EU, OSCE, and UN etc will all be involved.

Every country has also been asked to set up and mobilise a National Committee or Campaign for Journalists Safety, including a dialogue with journalists’ groups and civil society and one or more Coordinators and ‘contacts’ for the Council of Europe Secretariat.

The response is patchy: most of the real work will be done in each member state as the Council of Europe does not have a big budget itself, but there will be more high-profile international events in various places.

The CoE has a voluntary group of government representatives (Ambassadors in Strasbourg) who make up a so-called Group of Friends of Journalists’ Safety.

It has 11 country members: Austria, France, Greece, Liechstenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK to initiate and promote support for media freedom actions and decisions in the Committee of Ministers, the main decision-making body. (National MPs in the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) can also be influential).

We will share more information on these activities and the campaign when available.

 

 

 

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