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MFRR Summit | Protect or Persecute?: Police Threats to Europe’s Journalists

18. March 2021 @ 12:00 - 13:00


To ensure their safety, oftentimes journalists and media workers need police protection. But what happens when this protection is not forthcoming or is inadequate? Even worse, what happens when the police officers themselves are the source of the threat to the journalist? We cannot talk about media freedom in Europe, without talking about the actions of police officers. Whether through acts of violence, unlawful detention, confiscation of journalistic equipment or arrest, police officers across Europe have chipped away both at media freedom and the environment that encourages journalists to keep working. This panel discussion, chaired by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), will use experiences from Greece, Bulgaria and France and the Press Freedom Police Codex to explore ways we can ensure the police live up to their commitments to media freedom.


  • Larissa Rausch, Agence France-Presse (Germany)
  • Stoyan Tonchev, Liberta.bg (Bulgaria)
  • Ameer Al Halbi, freelance photographer (France)
  • CHAIR: Renate Schroeder, EFJ (Belgium)

Larissa Rausch

Larissa Rausch studied journalism with a specialization in TV journalism in Freiburg (Germany) and Strasbourg (France). Before moving to Berlin in 2015 she worked in Paris and Strasbourg for several news programs. In Berlin she started working as a freelance camerawoman amongst others for the popular science series Xenius for the french-german TV channel arte until 2017. Since then Rausch is working as videojournalist for the international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). Alongside her agency work, she lives to tell human stories: From punks cooking food for the homeless in the streets of Yangon to shamans on a remote Indonesian island and indigenous people in the far north of Sweden.

Renate Schroeder

Renate Schroeder is the Director of the European Federation of Journalists. In 1993 she started working for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and since 2003 she works for the EFJ. Advocacy at EU and Council of Europe level; presentation of EFJ at international meetings, project work, EFJ expert groups on freelancers, broadcasting, and digital journalism, are part of her work-load in the small Brussels office. Renate Schroeder studied International Relations and Political Science at Boston University and in Berlin at the Free University. She is of German nationality and speaks English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Stoyan Tonchev

Stoyan Tonchev is 36 years old. He resides in the seaside town of Pomorie. In 2014, Stoyan Tonchev started to practice journalism. He used to work as an investigative journalist for regional television then he created his first online project, website Behind the Scenes (Zadkulisite.com). Because of his journalistic activities, in 2016 an assassination attempt was made against him. No instigators or perpetrators were found. Since 2016 he has been an author on the site for investigative journalism Bivol.bg. In parallel, in 2018 he created the online media Liberta.bg. At the beginning of 2020, Tonchev has found out that he’s being tracked by unknown individuals and a new assassination attempt was made against him shortly after that, which he thwarted and reported to the Police. Instead of being protected, the police and the prosecutor’s office tried to form a false case against him regarding his mental state.

Ameer Alhalbi

Ameer Alhalbi is a Syrian photographer born on the 1st of January 1996 in the city of Aleppo. He was a high school student aspiring to study psychology until the beginning of the revolution that broke out in 2012 in an echo to the Arab Spring, when he started photography in spite of the fear in order to make the world aware of the seriousness of the current situation in Syria. The siege of Aleppo came to an end in December 2016. He was awarded the World Press Photo, which brought him to Europe, with a new start in Paris. He was always attracted to covering demonstrations in the French capital, felt he needed to be with the people in the street. He found value in talking to them, being their voice, showing their story.


18. March 2021
12:00 - 13:00
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