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On World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the essential role of journalism in upholding online and offline freedom of expression in democratic societies and fostering transparency and accountability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought the importance of the work of the press into sharp relief. In times of uncertainty, more than ever, access to reliable fact-checked information, that is free from undue interference and influence, is crucial and contributes to a more resilient society. It is a matter of concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used in some countries as a pretext for imposing undue restrictions on freedom of the press.

في اليوم العالمي لحرية الصحافة، نشيد بالدور الأساسي للصحافة في دعم حرية التعبير عبر الإنترنت وخارجها في المجتمعات الديمقراطية وتعزيز الشفافية والمساءلة. لقد أدت أزمة كوفد-19 إلى زيادة أهمية عمل الصحافة إلى حد كبير. وفي الأوقات التي تتسم بالغموض أكثر من أي وقت مضى، يعد الحصول على معلومات موثوقة ومدققة، الخالية من التدخل والتأثير غير المبررين، أمر بالغ الأهمية ويسهم في بناء مجتمع أكثر مرونة. وإن استخدام بعض البلدان لجائحة كوفد-19 كذريعة لفرض قيود غير ضرورية على حرية الصحافة أمر مثير للقلق.

On World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the essential role of journalism in upholding online and offline freedom of expression in democratic societies and fostering transparency and accountability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought the importance of the work of the press into sharp relief. In times of uncertainty, more than ever, access to reliable fact-checked information, that is free from undue interference and influence, is crucial and contributes to a more resilient society. It is a matter of concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used in some countries as a pretext for imposing undue restrictions on freedom of the press.

As the 3rd of May will mark the World Press Freedom Day, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the value of a free and independent press for our democratic societies. The topic chosen for this year "Journalism without Fear or Favour" resonates in these risky times for media freedom, as many governments could be tempted to use the current emergency situation to restrict freedom of expression and by extension press freedom.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, the European Union and its Member States have observed cyber threats and malicious cyber activities targeting essential operators in Member States and their international partners, including in the healthcare sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, significant phishing and malware distribution campaigns, scanning activities and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been detected, some affecting critical infrastructures that are essential to managing this crisis.

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On 23 April, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan fully acquitted the Chairman of the Republican Alternative Party (ReAl), Ilgar Mammadov and prominent human rights defender and ReAl board member, Rasul Jafarov. This judgement, which overturns their previous convictions, is a welcome step that finally fully implements the respective decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Union expects Azerbaijan to live up to its international commitments and to continue to implement the remaining decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

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Le 23 avril, la Cour suprême de l’Azerbaïdjan a acquitté de toute accusation le président du parti Alternative républicaine (ReAl) Ilgar Mammadov et Rasul Jafarov, éminent défenseur des droits de l’homme et membre du conseil d’administration de ce parti.

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