The Office of the European Union Representative
(West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA)

EU Statement on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November

Brussels, 28/10/2020 - 13:12, UNIQUE ID: 201028_8
Statements on behalf of the EU

1387th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (28 October 2020)

  1. On the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the EU commends the work of all journalists and media workers, and pays tribute to all those who lost their lives and suffered attacks in the exercise of their right to freedom of opinion and expression, online as well as offline, and stands by all those who have the courage to speak up for all of us.
  1. Journalists and media workers and with them, media freedom as a whole, are increasingly being put at risk. The EU is alarmed by the significant surge of serious threats to journalists, which include physical attacks against journalists, detention and imprisonment, harassment and intimidation as well as impunity for murder. The fact that women journalists are disproportionately targeted is also a matter of great concern.
  1. This trend is all the more worrying in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when freedom of expression and freedom of the media as protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is essential to allow access to reliable information and to counter disinformation, misinformation and other forms of manipulation of information. The ongoing public health crisis must not be used to silence or hinder journalists.
  1. The EU reaffirms its determination to promote the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The EU is engaged in providing support and legal assistance to journalists and media workers under threat, to support quality journalism, cross-border cooperation between media professionals and reinforcement of self-regulatory bodies.
  1. The EU very much values the work undertaken in the Council of Europe which has made the safety of journalists one of its priorities.
  1. The Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists, created in 2014, aims to improve the protection of journalists, better address threats and violence against media professionals and foster early warning mechanisms and response capacity within the Council of Europe. As such, the platform is an essential tool to help ending impunity for crimes committed against journalists and media workers. The 2016 recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors provides concrete guidelines to member States to effectively prevent violence against journalists and media actors, to protect them and to prosecute more effectively those responsible of violence. The Implementation Guide to the recommendation has been launched recently, to serve as a common basis for national authorities in the development of measures and action plans.
  1. We fully support the decision adopted by the Committee of Ministers at its 129th Session in Helsinki on 17 May 2019, in which it agreed to reinforce the Organisation’s work in this field and to enhance its co-operation and dialogue with the relevant tools of the Council of Europe, including the Platform. In this regard, we appreciate the informal exchange of views on media freedom and safety of journalists, organised by the Greek Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers on 8 September 2020, and we look forward to the Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society to be held in June 2021 in Nicosia, Cyprus, as an opportunity to address critical developments regarding the safety of journalists.