The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and 11 partner organisations of the Council of Europe Platform jointly launched their annual report on media freedom in Europe with an aim to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists.
The report titled, “Democracy at Risk: Threats and Attacks against Media Freedom in Europe” says that press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than it was in the cold war era. In addition to providing an overview of the urgent threats to media freedom identified in 2018, the report also takes an in-depth look at particular issues or country contexts that individual partner organisations have identified as especially salient during the past year.
The partners including journalists’, media organisations and freedom of expression advocacy groups, reported 140 serious violations in 32 Council of Europe member states thus providing an on-ground picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe. The reported threats include journalists facing obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public and according to the report, threats to press freedom in Europe doubled in 2018.
In addition to a country wise break up of various media attacks, it also discusses changes in the media landscape in Europe that potentially pose a threat to media freedom.
Several international instruments guarantee the right to freedom of expression. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that this right includes the freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. The Internet, with the opportunity it offers people to express themselves, is seen as an enabler of the exercise of this particular human right. Although these freedoms are guaranteed in global instruments and in national constitutions, in some countries freedom of expression is often curtailed through online censorship or filtering mechanisms, imposed by states, often for political reasons.