Call for EU to protect journalists

by Jane Whyatt

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom with fifteen other campaign groups is calling on the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to protect journalists against rising deadly threats. It follows the murders of Jàn Kuciak and his fiancée at their home. Jàn Kuciak was a data journalist working for the news website in Slovakia and investigating alleged corruption involving EU funds. Thier deaths come only a few months after the assassination by car bomb of Maltese investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Call for EU to protect journalists Candles in memory of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova. Photo: Flutura Kusari

Joint open letter to Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Dear President Juncker

We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply saddened and appalled by the recent killings of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. These killings on European soil in retaliation for the investigative reporting of these journalists are simply unacceptable.

We welcome the condemning of these killings by the European Union (EU) institutions. However, we demand that no time is wasted and these words are followed by action. We urge high-level officials from the European Commission to retain regular communication with senior police authorities in Slovakia and Malta to ensure that police investigations are full, thorough and independent.

Moreover, the European Commission must take the lead and hold state officials and public figures to account for creating an environment in which the critical function of journalism is respected. State officials and public figures should consistently speak out in support of the critical function of journalists and support journalists when they are attacked. A climate in which impunity prevails and in which journalists are only respected when they serve the interests of those in power paves the way for violence.

These murders signal the urgent need to support civil society in the EU Member States and to document and promote accountability for violations of press freedom.

In today’s world, where a journalist is killed every five days with almost full impunity as a result, we have to stop the European region from becoming an environment where journalists are no longer safe to do their work. We call on the European Commission to work, as a priority, with Member States to begin the process of establishing national protection mechanisms for journalists in Europe.

When journalists are killed, they are silenced and the public is deprived of their stories. In the cases of Ján Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia they were stories about corruption, organised crime and the abuse of power. Stories that people have a right to know about. Safety of journalists is a pre-condition for good journalism that serves the societies and audiences. Our European democracies cannot thrive when journalists are silenced and cannot inform people about important developments and hold those in power to account.

We urge the European Commission to call on the governments of its Member States to implement without any delay their existing commitments to provide a safe, enabling environment for journalists, flowing from numerous adopted resolutions on the safety of journalists and the Council of Europe recommendation on the Safety of Journalists and other media actors.

We urge the European Commission to take the lead in stepping up their efforts to protect journalists within Europe. The undersigned organisations stand ready to support such efforts.

Your response to the killings of Ján Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia will set a precedent for what is permissible in the European Union. A safe future for journalists is in your hands.

Yours sincerely,



Committee to Protect Journalists

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

European Federation of Journalists

European Journalism Centre

La Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa

Free Press Unlimited

Global Forum for Media Development


International Federation of Journalists

Index on Censorship

International Media Support

International Press Institute

Rory Peck Trust

Reporters Without Borders

Samir Kassir Foundation - SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom

Transparency International

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Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –