Brussels Declaration: Public media and international organisations to call for journalist safety and media freedom

Public service media companies and international organisations have signed the Brussels Declaration on September 30, 2021, a statement for journalist safety drafted on the initiative of CBC/Radio Canada, VRT and RTBF. Violence against and intimidation of journalists and other media staff is increasing, hence this call for a halt to this dangerous evolution. ‘Freedom of the press is a universal human right. We must unite to protect it.’ The International Federation of Jouranlists supports the Brussels Declaration and commends it to other media organisations for delivering safety to journalists everywhere.

Brussels Declaration signing. Credits: EU Commission

2020 and 2021 will be remembered as violent years for media. According to research conducted by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (supported by the European Commission), more than 900 attacks on journalists were perpetrated in Europe in 2020. Alarmingly, several countries were even confronted with the assassination of journalists.

Therefore, VRT and RTBF decided to dedicate the annual conference of Public Broadcasters International (PBI), which they co-organise in Brussels, to the role of public service media in democratic systems. The conference will lay the emphasis on the Brussels Declaration.

The Brussels Declaration is in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It endorses the right to a democratic society with a free and secure press and media. All signatories to the Brussels Declaration commit themselves to adhering to 5 important principles, to actively promoting and implementing them. These are the 5 principles:

  • We improve the safety of journalists and other media staff
  • We stand up for the independence of public broadcasters
  • We encourage well-informed democratic debate
  • We support a strong and diverse news media landscape
  • We promote diversity, fairness and inclusion within our own organisation and in the society we serve



 Anthony Bellanger, the Secretary General of the IFJ said, "The IFJ welcomes the Brussels Declaration initiative which helps highlight further the gravity of the safety crisis in journalism all over the world. It also promotes the role of media employers and owners in providing safe workplaces to their staff both in newsrooms and while reporting in the field. The IFJ supports the Brussels Declaration and commends it to other media organisations for delivering safety to journalists everywhere." 

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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