European Charter on Freedom of the Press

Article 1

Freedom of the press is essential to a democratic society. To uphold and protect it, and to respect its diversity and its political, social and cultural missions, is the mandate of all governments.

Article 2

Censorship is impermissible. Independent journalism in all media is free of persecution and repression, without a guarantee of political or regulatory interference by government. Press and online media shall not be subject to state licensing.

Article 3

The right of journalists and media to gather and disseminate information and opinions must not be threatened, restricted or made subject to punishment.

Article 4

The protection of journalistic sources shall be strictly upheld. Surveillance of, electronic eavesdropping on or searches of newsrooms, private rooms or journalists’ computers with the aim of identifying sources of information or infringing on editorial confidentiality are unacceptable.

Article 5

All states must ensure that the media have the full protection of the law and the authorities while carrying out their role. This applies in particular to defending journalists and their employees from harassment and/or physical attack. Threats to or violations of these rights must be carefully investigated and punished by the judiciary.

Article 6

The economic livelihood of the media must not be endangered by the state or by state-controlled institutions. The threat of economic sanctions is also unacceptable. Private-sector companies must respect the journalistic freedom of the media. They shall neither exert pressure on journalistic content nor attempt to mix commercial content with journalistic content.

Article 7

State or state-controlled institutions shall not hinder the freedom of access of the media and journalists to information. They have a duty to support them in their mandate to provide information.

Article 8

Media and journalists have a right to unimpeded access to all news and information sources, including those from abroad. For their reporting, foreign journalists should be provided with visas, accreditation and other required documents without delay.

Article 9

The public of any state shall be granted free access to all national and foreign media and sources of information.

Article 10

The government shall not restrict entry into the profession of journalism.


Statute and Code of Conduct

Three documents are essential for members of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Besides the statute of the ECPMF they must accept and behave in the spirit of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press and in the spirit of the Code of Conduct of the Centre. 


The ECPMF “co-operative family” – one member one vote

read the Interview with Bernhard Brauner, Co-operatives Association, Germany

Code of Conduct of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

A) Preamble

This Code of Conduct formulates an accepted consensus about the conduct of all ECPMF members, its employees and the persons active for the bodies, committees and boards of the ECPMF. 

This Code of Conduct lays out the foundations on which the work of the ECPMF is based and is intended to strengthen and protect the integrity of our organisation. The items and determinations presented here are general principles. This Code of Conduct cannot provide an exhaustive list of all situations that could lead to actual or presumed conflicts of interest. It is expected that all participants will act in cases of doubt independently and without being asked in the spirit of this Code of Conduct and the European Charter on Freedom of the Press.

B) Foundations

The ECPMF conceives of itself as a pan-European organisation of journalists with the goal of securing the use of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press (see appendix) throughout Europe and gaining recognition for it as a basis for the EU enlargement negotiations.

The ECPMF is constituted democratically and is politically independent. Politically motivated activity designed tochange the aims in the statutes of the ECPMFor to impact on the freedom of decision and conscience of the members of the cooperative and/or members of the ECPMF boards contrary to the spirit of this Code of Conduct shall be ruled out. Infringements are to be notified to the Trust Board and the Trust Council without delay.

The work of the ECPMF is based on thorough, objective and professional analysis based on high research standards.

The people and organisations involved in the ECPMF show solidarity to each other and avert everything that could harm the image of the ECPMF.

We work transparently. Where necessary or expedient, we protect information, sources, people and processes with the greatest degree of care.

We do not accept money that could compromise our journalistic independence. All donors are made public.

Gifts, invitations, entertainment, privileges, loans, advantages or anything else of value may not be accepted if intended to exert influence over the ECPMF or individual members of the co-operative.

C) Conflicts of interest

In the case of an actual or presumed conflict of interest, the affected parties must notify the Trust Board of the conflict independently on their own initiative.

The affected parties must withdraw from decisions, consultations and affairs which could be affected by such a conflict of interest.

Questions and objections arising in connection with this Code of Conduct that are presented to the ECPMF Trust Board must be reviewed by the Board. Affected individuals and organisations are obliged in this context to provide comprehensive information to the Trust Board. The Trust Board will if necessary recommend sanctions to the Trust Council and inform the members of the conflicts that have arisen.
Forms of sanctions
If the Trust Board finds that this Code of Conduct has not been breached, the Trust Council will merely be informed, thus bringing a close to the matter.