Dunja Mijatovic sends her wishes from the Council of Europe praising the monitoring of attacks to journalists carried out by Ossigeno on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day celebrations .
Dear Alberto, dear friends and colleagues,
It has been sometime since we saw each other but I can assure you that my determination and dedication to continue fighting for the safety of journalists did not change. I can only say it became even more prominent and important with this new role as Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe.
The safety of journalists in Europe has reached a very critical moment. The brutal killings of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak in fact tragically remind us of the danger that journalists still face in Europe. As many murders of journalists in the past, these killings too could have been probably prevented if the States had reacted more promptly and seriously to the threats they had received. At the same time, they represent only the most visible tip of an iceberg of threats that is endangering journalists and as a consequence our democracies. If they care about democracy and the rule of law, States must better protect journalists.
In this regard, I find that the well-documented monitoring of attacks on journalists that Ossigeno carries out in Italy represents one good example of how to contribute to implement what the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the United Nations have often recommended to Member States. Ossigeno’s monitoring has already produced the important results of making the problem of attacks against journalists more visible and therefore, impossible to deny. Now, it is necessary to go a step further and improve the cooperation between State actors, in particular the police, NGOs and journalist organisations.
It is therefore encouraging to see that this year Ossigeno per l’Informazione celebrates World Press Freedom Day in Rome with the patronage of UNESCO and together with AGCOM, the Italian authority for Communications Guarantees. I hope that this type of synergies between public institutions and NGOs can be further developed in Italy and also serves as an example for other countries in order to strengthen the safety of journalists. What is at stake here is in fact not only the future of the press, the future of journalists but also that of our democracies.
Attacks against journalists whether prominent investigative reporters or precarious freelancers always go beyond individual cases and concern us all.
I hope that the event that you are organising will help States, NGOs and civil society to move forward together in the crucial efforts to increase the safety of journalists in Europe.
I wish you Happy World Press Freedom Day!