Press and media freedom is under attack. And not only in authoritarian states such as Azerbaijan, and countries in transition like Northern Macedonia, but also in countries with strong democratic constitutions like Germany, and long democratic traditions like the United Kingdom. 

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) was founded by 25 organisations from all over Europe in order to stop these attacks. The DNA of our work is the implementation of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press in the EU, signed by 48 editors-in-chief and leading journalists.

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) is a non-profit European Cooperative Society, based in Leipzig, Germany. We promote, preserve and defend media freedom by monitoring violations, providing practical support and engaging diverse stakeholders across Europe.

The ECPMF brings together media, freedom of expression organisations and academia to counter attacks on press and media freedom both nationally and internationally. We have established a database of media freedom violations in Europe. We organise working parties to support other national and international organisations that advocate for media freedom. We support national media associations and individuals who are fighting for the freedom of the press and media and we support individual journalists who are harassed by the authorities.

Free and outspoken media are a pillar of democracy. There is no freedom without press freedom. Attacks on independent journalism are attacks on European values and international human rights. The ECPMF aims to defend the freedom of the media and to preserve and promote it.

You are welcome to join the ECPMF and you can sign up here.

Henrik Kaufholz (Chair

Hans-Ulrich Jörges (Founding member)


After years of preparation, 25 representatives of journalists' associations, publishing houses, academic institutions, trade unions and media rights experts from altogether 16 countries met on June 24th, 2015 in Leipzig, Germany to found the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). The organisation is an independent non-profit European Co-operative Society (SCE).

Our vision is a society where media freedom enables open discourse and everyone can seek, receive and impart information.

ECPMF’s mission is to promote, preserve and defend media freedom by monitoring violations, providing practical support and engaging diverse stakeholders across Europe.


Voting at the founding assembly. Source: ECPMF

The ECPMF was formed democratically and is politically independent as a non-profit European Co-operative Society (SCE). The ECPMF ‘s work is based on thorough, objective and professional analysis based on high research standards.

In the spirit of solidarity, the European Co-operative creates a network for the otherwise very fragmented media and journalism community. The centre moderates the member network consisting of individuals, academic bodies, unions, investigative journalist organisations, media industry, campaigning and aid organisations etc. The cooperative supports and coordinates the activities of its members. Together with local and international members and partners it organises solidarity, covering the continent from Portugal to Russia and from Norway to Malta.

Genossenschaft Partner Infographik 2

Source: ECPMF

The ECPMF works as a central documentation centre for violations of press freedom, and as a central contact point for organisations and individuals who need contacts, analyses and information regarding press freedom in Europe. Violations of press freedom are observed and researched by regional editors and registered in a central database - the European Media Freedom Resource Centre. Furthermore, scientific analysis about press freedom in Europe is systematically collected.

ECPMF Structure

Structure of the ECPMF

The activities of the ECPMF and its members include the “Journalists-in-Residence” programme, a helpdesk, diplomatic efforts, international petitions and campaigning, fact-finding and advocacy missions, rapid response forces, legal aid and legislative initiatives. The Centre also organises international conferences and offers training and education. We implement all our activities in close cooperation with our members and partners.  



Media Freedom is one of the key values and ideals of democratic societies in the world. It must be defended at all times because it is constantly under pressure and attack. To ensure this freedom in Europe 48 editors-in-chief and leading journalists from all over the continent convened in 2009 and formulated the European Charter on Freedom of the Press. The goal of the initiative was to assert the charter’s validity across Europe and to make its adoption a condition in EU accession negotiations. The Charter was handed over to the European Commission in Brussels on June 9th 2009 and to the Council of Europe in Luxembourg on October 26th, 2009.

ecfp unterzeichnung

Editors and leading journalists sign the European Charter on Freedom of the Press in 2009. Source: Gruner+Jahr


Charter is handed over

In Brussels, the Charter is handed over by Hans-Ulrich Jörges, Co-editor of German Magazine "Stern", to the European  Commissioner Viviane Reding on June 9th 2009. Source: EU Commission


The supporters of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press have established a strong network of partners all over Europe. The aim was to establish the independent, non-governmental European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). Therefore the network united partners from all communities that are professionally involved with journalism and press freedom – academics, unions, investigative journalism organisations, the media industry, campaigning and aid organisations etc. Together, they form a strong European Co-operative.


It was then at the Leipzig Media Congress, held by the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation in October of 2010 on the 10th anniversary of the creation of its Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media, that Hans-Ulrich Jörges, initiator of the Charter, introduced the idea of creating a European Centre for the Freedom of the Press to the public for the first time. Immediately after the Congress, the Media Foundation began working on a concept to serve as the basis for a search for new project supporters. Amongst them are members of the European Parliament (especially its President Martin Schulz), the Free State of Saxony, the City of Leipzig as well as the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2015, the Centre was finally founded, since 2017 it is established as a European Cooperative Society (SCE). It is based at the Media Foundation´s Leipzig headquarters and the Foundation continues to support the ECPMF.