272 European media freedom violations recorded in first half of 2021

Jordan Higgins

04 January 2022

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Partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) have published the latest MFRR Monitoring Report, outlining the state of media freedom throughout all EU Member States and Candidate Countries from January to June 2021.

 

The report includes a visual analysis of the data compiled for Mapping Media Freedom, which collects and visualises all press freedom violations in the European Union and Candidate Countries. The quantitative analysis is followed by country reports, where MFRR partners highlight some of the most relevant cases of the first 6 months of 2021 in the most affected countries. After this, a cross-regional thematic comparative analysis focuses on the rise of online threats, which have been one of the main contexts of alerts during the studied period and will continue to be monitored in the coming periods.

 

An overview of the report’s key findings can be found below.

Throughout the reporting period, 272 alerts were documented, ranging from verbal attacks to legal incidents. 438 individuals or media entities in 26 countries were subjected to one or more press freedom violations.

Monitoring Report overview

The most commonly recorded violation was intimidation/threats (26.8% of the total), followed by physical assaults not resulting in injury (12.1%). The next most common type of violation was insults to media workers (10.7%), followed by discrediting, physical assault resulting in injury, and attacks to equipment.

monitoring report types

As the world moved into a second year with Covid-19, it became clear that the consequences of the pandemic were now affecting many areas of society, shaping political discourses, radicalising some anti-lockdown movements, and threatening press and media freedom in most countries.

 

26.1% of all recorded alerts were related to Covid-19; from journalists insulted while covering anti-lockdown demonstrations to reporters receiving threats online for their coverage of vaccination programmes.

monitoring report covid

Outside of covering protests and demonstrations, violations also occurred online (18%), in public places (12.5%), in the office/place of work (9.9%), and at court (8.8.%).

Monitoring report contexts

Private individuals remain the main source or perpetrators of attacks (41.2%), followed by police or state security forces (17.6%), then government/public officials (14%). Other, less common sources of violations include corporations and companies, other media outlets, employers, and criminal organisations.

Monitoring report sources

After breaking down the sources, types, and contexts of all violations throughout Europe, the report continues with a country-by-country analysis of the period focusing on Germany, France, Serbia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Slovenia, Greece, and Italy.

This Monitoring Report is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), an Europe-wide mechanism, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by an consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) with ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission. www.mfrr.eu

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