ECPMF and partners start Rapid Response Mechanism to support journalists under threat/ European Commission Co-funds the programme with 1.4 Million Euro
March 1st marks a new chapter in the support for journalists under threat – it is the start of the Europe-wide rapid response mechanism (RRM) for violations of press and media freedom. The RRM is conducted by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom in Leipzig (ECPMF).The Mechanism is designed to mitigate the consequences of the recently observed deterioration of press and media freedom in certain EU Member States and Candidate Countries.
The consortium consists of the ECPMF, 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 work programme of the consortium comprises the development of coordinated rapid responses to violations of press and media freedom. Thematic focal points are online harassment, especially against female journalists, legal threats like SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) lawsuits, the fight against impunity and the situation of media freedom in specific countries.
In response to violations of media freedom the partners will implement a broad set of instruments, from advocacy to campaigning, legal aid to practical support, training to consultation. The monitoring of press freedom violations will mainly be done by IPI and EFJ. Both organisations have large membership and contact networks throughout Europe, which will be a key resource for the monitoring work. The common platform to submit alerts is mappingmediafreedom.org; selected cases will also be submitted to the Council of Europe’s Platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. During the project period the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig will develop a new methodology for mappingmediafreedom.org based on artificial intelligence and text recognition. All activities focus on EU Member States and Candidate Countries.
The RRM is supported with 1.4 Million Euro co-funding from the European Commission following the intention of the European Parliament to provide increased support to the defence of press and media freedom in the European Union.
“The murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak dramatically proved the need for an instrument like the Rapid Response Mechanism. It is high time to strengthen protection and prevention on a European level”, says Lutz Kinkel, ECPMF’s Managing Director. “The consortium that runs the project has excellent abilities with regard to practical support and communication. It will make a difference.”
To help with the smooth running of the Rapid Response Mechanism, the ECPMF has employed a new rapid response co-ordinator. It is Nicholas S. Williams, project manager and policy advisor at Scottish PEN. He says:
“I am honoured to be joining ECPMF for this groundbreaking project to protect journalists and media workers across Europe. The recent degradation of press freedom in Europe, highlighted by the murders of Lyra McKee, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Jan Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, to name just a few, should alarm everyone across the continent and I am delighted that the European Commission supports this Rapid Response Mechanism to respond in a meaningful and robust manner.”