From Trump and virus new threats to freedom press

24 April 2020 By Luciana Borsatti – Brief review of some topics highlighted recently by NGO and international organisations for media freedom

BRUSSELS – The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with 23 journalists, press freedom and civil society organisations, has circulated joint recommendations to the European Commission and the European Parliament Civil Liberty’s (LIBE) Working Group on the Rule of Law. In July 2019, the European Commission announced the launch of the European Rule of Law Mechanism, whose main purpose is the release of an Annual Rule of Law Report assessing the situation in each member state, with a chapter on media freedom and pluralism. READ HERE 

VIENNA – The COVID-19 pandemic is having a rapid and significant effect on media freedom in the European Union, according to new research published by the International Press Institute (IPI). The briefing paper, Media Freedom Violations in the EU under COVID-19, shows how several states have implemented emergency laws and restrictions which challenge the ability of journalists to inform the public. Many of the most serious violations are in central and Eastern Europe countries, such as Hungary, Serbia and Turkey. However, other states have also seen restrictions on journalists. The research was coordinated by IPI as part of the new Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) project. READ HERE 

LONDON – ARTICLE 19 is concerned about the use of Spain’s Penal Code against people who have shared and created false information and jokes about coronavirus online. Misinformation about Covid-19 is a significant challenge for all governments,  but criminal prosecutions should be the last resort, it says. READ HERE

VIENNA – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, is concerned about the fact that journalists in Turkey will in effect not benefit from a new law releasing inmates from prison, amid public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  READ HERE 

NEW YORK – Attacks on press credibility endanger US democracy and global press freedom, a special report of the Committee to Protect Journalists says. The Trump administration has stepped up prosecutions of news sources, interfered in the business of media owners, harassed journalists crossing U.S. borders. But its most effective ploy has been to destroy the credibility of the press, undermining truth and consensus even as the pandemic threatens millions of Americans. READ HERE

PARIS – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges everyone to beware of a global disinformation campaign about the coronavirus that Beijing has reportedly been orchestrating ever since the start of the pandemic. The campaign is designed to drown out critics who blame Beijing for the spread of the virus on the grounds that its censorship of early warnings delayed adoption of health measures. READ HERE

LONDON – A Russian artist currently under house arrest for her work on gender and sexual equality and one of the first free investigative journalism and fact-checking websites in Poland are among the winners of the 2020 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards. READ HERE



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