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Freedom of the media is vital to the development of civil society
© OSCE/Lubomir Kotek

Council of Europe: annual assessment on the 2017 media freedom threats in Europe

The partner organisations to Council of Europe Platform for the Promotion of Journalism and the Protection of Journalists issued their annual assessment of the 2017 media freedom threats in the Council of Europe member states.

In 2017, the partners submitted 130 alerts concerning 29 countries. In 79 alerts (60%), the State was the source of the threat. Fewer than 30 percent of the alerts passed on to Member States received a State reply. The alerts consist mainly of attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists (23%), harassment and intimidation (23%), and detention and imprisonment (21%).

Impunity remains one of the single biggest challenges to the protection of journalists. This includes 15 cases of murders of journalists and numerous cases of threats and other types of intimidation and harassment which were not investigated by State authorities, according to the report.

The organisations urged the authorities to adequately investigate the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, arguing that her killing is a clear sign of declining conditions in media freedom in Europe, and called on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the murder investigation.

During 2017 four alerts concerning cases of threat to media freedom in Italy were submitted to the Platform. The Italian Government provided a reply only to one of them.

The Platform is a public space to facilitate the compilation, processing and dissemination of information on serious concerns about media freedom and safety of journalists in Council of Europe member States, as guaranteed by Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It aims to improve the protection of journalists, better address threats and violence against media professionals and foster early warning mechanisms and response capacity within the Council of Europe.The Platform’s partner organisations are: European Federation of Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, Association of European Journalists, Article 19, Reporters without borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Censorship, International Press Institute, International News Safety Institute, The Rory Peck Trust, The European Broadcasting Union, PEN International.