European Parliament Supports Press Freedom and Protects Journalists

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The European Parliament has taken a firm stance in safeguarding press freedom and promoting media diversity within the European Union (EU) and beyond.

In a bid to fortify media freedom and pluralism in the EU, the Parliament adopted a resolution in November 2021. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called for new regulations to shield journalists from censorship, and are actively collaborating with the European Commission to develop a proposal. Acknowledging the amplified challenge of disinformation dissemination in the digital era, MEPs emphasize the urgency of addressing this issue.

Furthermore, MEPs have issued two additional reports, one in March 2022 and another in June 2023, urging the EU to devise a unified strategy to counter foreign interference and disinformation campaigns. They have also called for increased support for independent media outlets, fact-checkers, and researchers.

In June 2023, the Parliament endorsed recommendations to combat the illegal use of spyware targeting journalists and political adversaries.

MEPs are diligently working on the European Media Freedom Act, aimed at further safeguarding press freedom.

To commemorate the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who tragically lost her life in a bombing incident in 2017, the Parliament launched the third edition of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism on May 3, 2023. This prestigious award aims to recognize exceptional journalism that embodies the values of the EU.

Press freedom, freedom of expression, and media pluralism are fundamental rights protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Challenges Faced by Journalism in Europe

While the overall state of media freedom in most EU countries is positive, MEPs expressed concerns regarding the condition of public service media in certain EU nations in a resolution on media freedom in 2020. They emphasized that media freedom, pluralism, independence, and journalist safety are essential components of the right to freedom of expression and information, which in turn are crucial for the democratic functioning of the EU.

Regrettably, journalists have faced attacks throughout the EU. Greek journalist George Karaivaz was tragically shot and killed in Athens in April 2021, while Dutch investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries lost his life in Amsterdam in July 2021.

Additionally, the war in Ukraine has proven perilous for journalists. Data from the Council of Europe in June 2023 indicates that since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, 12 journalists have lost their lives in the conflict.

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