ECPMF urges European leaders to respect freedom of expression during the corona crisis

Independent journalistic work and news coverage play a crucial role in pandemics like the Coronavirus crisis we are currently facing. While we recognise the importance of stringent measures to safeguard public health, we, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), call on European leaders not to exploit emergency measures to legitimise restrictions on press and media freedom in any way.

Journalists’ access to information must be guaranteed in all cases and by all means. When access to relevant press conferences needs to be controlled in order to comply with the rules of social distancing, the representation of media outlets and journalists must be fair and proportionate and not be linked to any political preference. Alternative access must be equally available, for example by live-streaming or video conference. The corona crisis must not be misused to discredit or smear critical journalists and their reporting.

The free flow of information to the public must be guaranteed, while at the same time disinformation about the virus needs to be countered by trustworthy news coverage:

“In these times of Corona, disinformation can kill people”, says Lutz Kinkel, ECPMF’s Managing Director. “State actors must not misuse the corona crisis to disseminate ideological spins or introduce censorship to whitewash the situation in their countries. Independent professional journalism, transparency of sources and accurate, fact-checked information are the best weapons to combat the pandemic. To protect the lives of their people, governments must put in place a credible and trustworthy information policy and foster instead of limiting the scrutiny of free media.”

 

Protection of freelancers needed

To enable the free flow of information the safety and protection of journalists during the corona outbreak must also be guaranteed. Particular attention must be paid to non-standard workers (including freelance journalists), who are facing economic difficulties in this unprecedented time.

ECPMF and its partner organisations will rigorously monitor threats and press freedom violations in the upcoming weeks of the pandemic. Please submit alerts to mappingmediafreedom.org, ECPMF and partners will verify and publish them.

Feature

Croatia: Faktograf journalist Melita Vrsaljko physically assaulted twice in a week

The undersigned organisations express deep concerns about the physical attacks targeting Melita Vrsaljko, a journalist working for the Croatian fact-checking website Faktograf.hr.

READ MORE
Statement

Joint letter to Ursula von der Leyen calling for a strong press freedom mandate

ECPMF has joined 25 organisations to call on the European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen to ensure that media freedom, the protection of journalists, and EU citizens’ access to public interest journalism remain high political priorities.

READ MORE
Support

“When all our reporting, all our drops, come together, they form an ocean” – Environmental and urban journalism in Turkey

Hazal Ocak is an investigative journalist from Turkey reporting on environmental and urban topics. By writing about environmental injustices, she attempts to amplify the “voice of many creatures such as trees and squirrels” on this planet.

READ MORE
Statement

France: Media freedom coalition condemns Vivendi’s disinformation campaign against Reporters Without Borders

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners strongly condemn the cyber disinformation campaign against the press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

READ MORE
Press release

Georgia: A crisis point for press freedom

Today, ECPMF publishes a report detailing the findings of its fact-finding mission to Tbilisi, Georgia, which paint a picture of independent media in the midst of an existential crisis.

READ MORE
Statement

Turkey: Freedom of the press and expression groups condemn broadcast regulator’s silencing of Açık Radyo

The undersigned freedom of the press and expression organizations condemn the decision by Turkey’s broadcast regulator to revoke the license of independent radio station Açık Radyo.

READ MORE

Read news by categories:

Tags :