“In these difficult times, marred by wars*, conflict and terrorist acts, we recall and praise the essential role played by journalists and media workers in fighting for the truth and for human rights. Journalists contribute to counter disinformation and hate speech and to keep checks and balances on governments and public institutions. They shed light on war crimes and human rights violations, sometimes at the risk of their own lives.
We firmly condemn the killings, physical attacks, arbitrary detentions, online and offline intimidation, harassment, and surveillance, that journalists at times face while exercising their profession. Media worldwide continue to be raided or closed, and journalists are increasingly targeted by legislation that curtails freedom of expression, and by abusive litigation, thus limiting pluralism, editorial independence, and infringing freedom of expression.
There can be no impunity for human rights violations and abuses against journalists. We call to establish national frameworks for the safety of journalists, that include awareness raising, prevention, protection, and prosecution elements, with an attention to include specific measures for women journalists and those belonging to minority groups.
The EU remains committed to support independent journalists and media workers everywhere. We will continue to mobilise all the diplomatic tools at our disposal to raise attention to individual cases of journalists in detention or at risk. We have also established ProtectDefenders.eu to provide journalists at high risk with physical and digital protection, legal support, and relocation.
The EU stands united to support the United Nations human rights system, including the critical work of both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNESCO to promote the safety of journalists and to identify common solutions.
Under the Global Europe Human Rights and Democracy programme, the EU provides €185 million for support to independent media, harnessing digitalisation worldwide.
Protecting journalists means protecting our own rights. Democracy cannot work without free and independent media. This is why the EU is also taking unprecedented steps at home to protect journalists.
We call on Member States to implement the Commission Recommendation on the safety of journalists. The proposal for a Media Freedom Act aims to safeguard their independence and media pluralism. The Commission also took action to fight strategic lawsuits against public participation, which put pressure on journalists and want to silence them. These legislative proposals should be adopted swiftly to improve the environment in which journalists and media operate and to set global standards.
The European Union stands with journalists around the world who, each and every day, exercise their freedom of expression for the benefit of us all.”
Source: European Commission
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