IFJ/EFJ Meet the Council of Europe to Strengthen Synergies for Media Freedom

The growing trend of legal restrictions on journalists and media in Europe is an issue of concern raised in a meeting today between the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), its regional group in Europe (EFJ) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks. The IFJ/EFJ together presented an exclusive survey on the legal restrictions facing journalists and media. The discussion showed that journalists are most concerned by laws on data retention, protections of sources, anti-terrorism laws, privacy and defamation. The IFJ/EFJ and its affiliates expressed concerns that such trend of legal restrictions is growing in the climate of fear following recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. The meeting also highlighted the growing censorship and measures used by governments to silence journalists in countries that have a poor record of media freedom such as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Macedonia, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. “I share your concerns and I am following very closely what is happening to the media in Europe,” said Commissioner Muižnieks. “I will continue to intervene within my mandate as Commissioner for Human Rights when there are threats to or violation of media freedom.” Apart from legal restrictions, journalists in Europe also face physical attacks and threats. In the latest IFJ report, Trail of Violence, 9 journalists in Europe were killed related to their work as journalists.

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