Democracy cannot live without free, diverse and independent media. Journalists and media actors across the globe hold states, government officials, corporations and society at large accountable for their actions. But far too many among them face threats and attacks simply for carrying out their work, while the perpetrators of these attacks often act with total impunity.
On the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU) reiterate their strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and for all cases. The death penalty is an affront to human dignity. It constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and is contrary to the right to life. The death penalty has no established deterrent effect and it makes judicial errors irreversible.
The decision by the Hong Kong authorities to refuse to renew the working visa of the Financial Times' Asia news editor, Victor Mallet, sets a worrying precedent. In the absence of a credible alternative explanation from the authorities, the decision appears politically motivated and therefore raises serious concerns about freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. It risks damaging Hong Kong's international standing and trust in the "one country, two systems" principle.
Journalists must be allowed to perform their work independently and without interference.