EU Statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2022

(Source: EEAS)

1433rd meeting of the Committee of Ministers (4 May 2022)

  1. This year’s World Press Freedom Day is a particularly appropriate occasion to recall the crucial role played by journalists, media workers and free and independent media.
  2. As we speak, brave journalists, camera crews, reporters, photographers and bloggers are risking their lives to keep us informed about Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, bringing human rights violations and war crimes to light. The list of journalists and media workers who have been killed or injured gets longer by the day. Russian forces are detaining, abducting or kidnapping and deliberately targeting journalists and civil society actors, in violation of international law. We strongly urge the Russian Federation to immediately stop such attacks and practices.  
  3. In its annual report, the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists points to an alarming increase in the number of cases of violence and intimidation against journalists and media workers, notably in the context of protests. Among the main issues of concern are the growing criminalization of journalism, surveillance, financial and political pressure on media outlets and threats of retaliation against journalists who investigate organized crime and corruption.
  4. The European Union strongly condemns threats and violence against journalists and media workers and urges States to step up the fight against impunity for these crimes. In this regard, we support the Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists, which is an essential tool to alert about negative developments regarding media freedom and help ending impunity for crimes against journalists and media workers.
  5. The EU continues to follow the situation for media freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey with concern because of the serious backsliding in these areas. We condemn the continuing restrictions, detentions, imprisonments, and other measures targeting journalists, and call on Turkey to urgently and effectively address these negative developments.
  6. We highly value the work of the Council of Europe in the field of freedom of expression and media freedom, including the work of the European Court of Human Rights that ensures compliance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. We look forward to continuing our work, notably in the framework of the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society.
  7. We reaffirm today that the safety of journalists is an EU priority. The EU is providing emergency support to media outlets and journalists covering the war in Ukraine. The EU is also addressing systemic threats to media freedom in Europe. The European Commission has announced an upcoming Media Freedom Act, which will enhance our efforts in promoting democratic participation, fighting disinformation and supporting media freedom. This new regulation will complement the recently adopted recommendations that aim to ensure safer working conditions for all media professionals and to protect journalists and human rights defenders from abusive litigation (SLAPP).

The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, San Marino and Ukraine

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