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Monitoring Report: Increasing Pressures on Media Freedom in Europe in 2021

Attacked while covering demonstrations, harassed online for reporting on COVID-19 and measures to fight it, or sued by private companies trying to avoid publication of damaging information. These are just some examples of the threats received by journalists and media workers in Europe in 2021. Today the International Press Institute (IPI) joins its partners in [...]

Hungary: Government bypasses court order on journalists’ hospital access

The IPI global network today condemned a Hungarian government decree which – despite a court order – ensured journalists from independent media titles could continue be barred from reporting from inside hospitals. IPI called on the Fidesz government and its pandemic management body to approve future requests for journalists to access health facilities and stop [...]

Italy: Journalists face fresh violence covering ‘green pass’ protests

The undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) are highly concerned about yet another series of violent attacks and threats to journalists and media workers covering protests against the government’s pandemic-related measures across Italy.  Several incidents of hostility and violence towards media were reported in Rome on 9 October, when journalists and photojournalists [...]

Disturbing pattern of violence and harassment at COVID-related protests across Europe

The partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) are highly concerned by a barrage of attacks and harassment of journalists by protesters at demonstrations across Europe in recent weeks against new government measures taken in light of the Coronavirus-pandemic. They fit a disturbing pattern observed throughout the region of increasing violence, harassment and intimidation of journalists [...]

Interview: A fine line between COVID-19 profiteering and saving lives

When AstraZeneca announced delays in COVID-19 vaccine deliveries promised to the EU in early 2021, Brussels raised the spectre of legal action to force the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker to honour its contract. Investigative journalist Stefano Valentino didn’t fancy the European Commission’s chances if things ended up in court. He’d studied an unredacted version of its contract [...]

Slovenia: Government Communication Office must stop controlling COVID-19 news coverage

Slovenia’s Government Communication Office (UKOM) must stop denying public health officials and ministers clearance to give interviews with media and halt wider attempts to control news coverage during the pandemic, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today. IPI, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, also urged UKOM to [...]

Increasing threats and violence against journalists in the Netherlands

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today expressed serious concern over the recent increase in threats and violence against journalists in the Netherlands. Over the past few days, several journalists and TV crews have been threatened, insulted or physically attacked by groups of [...]

COVID-19 pandemic severely undermined press freedom in South Asia

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges and pushed the media into uncharted territory. Across the globe press freedom has been undermined by governments to control the public narrative and cover up their inadequacies. Authorities have clamped down on the media to control information and public debate about the pandemic. Emergency regulations were put in [...]

China jails citizen journalists who reported on COVID-19

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today vehemently condemned the sentencing of Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist who reported from Wuhan about COVID-19. A court in Shanghai today convicted Zhang for ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’, a charge often levelled by the Chinese [...]

Jordan arrests journalist for reporting about COVID-19 vaccine

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today strongly condemned the arrest of Jordanian journalist Jamal Haddad and demanded his immediate release. Haddad, editor of the news website Al-Wakaai, was arrested on December 24, on the orders of the state security court prosecutor, for [...]

Strong newspaper traditions and trust advance digital subscriptions in Estonia

Estonia, one of Europe's smallest nations, has been well known as a trailblazer globally when it comes to digital government. Its media organizations are leaders, too, running ahead of the other two Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania when it comes to people committing to paying for online content. Since September 2019, when the Estonian [...]

Report: Media Freedom in Europe in the Shadow of COVID-19

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today launched its new report Media Freedom in Europe in the Shadow of COVID-19. The monitoring report presents a summary of the violations arising from the pandemic that IPI has documented throughout the year on its COVID-19 [...]

Successful models of local journalism blossom in Italy despite pandemic challenges

Italians have little confidence in journalism. This much was revealed in a recent Reuters Digital News Report which showed that in 2020 only 29 percent of Italians trusted their media. Concerningly, the report also pinpointed a further decline in this figure compared to the previous year, as has been the case for several years in [...]

IPI joins letter urging Merkel not to compromise on core EU values in budget stalemate

The International Press Institute (IPI) today joined other civil society organizations in writing to German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to ensure that respect for the rule of law and other core EU principles such as press freedom are not up for negotiation in the ongoing stalemate with Hungary and Poland over passing of the [...]

Report Launch & Webinar: “Journalism in the Shadow of Covid” (Dec. 11, 2020)

The International Press Institute (IPI) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) launched the IPI’s report on the impact of Covid-19 on journalism across Europe. MISSED THE LAUNCH? WATCH THE RECORDING HERE   This report is based on the exhaustive monitoring of violations of media freedom arising from the pandemic documented by IPI’s Covid-19 Press [...]

Journalists across EU face wave of attacks covering anti-lockdown protests

As flares illuminated Republic Square in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana in red light, photojournalist Borut Živulovič stood amongst the crowd with his camera and equipment covering anti-Covid-19 lockdown protests against the government on November 5. As he was documenting the clashes between protesters and riot police, an unidentified individual approached the photojournalist from behind and [...]

As China eyes up Czech media, CME purchase renews concern

Local oligarchs have spent the last decade buying up Czech media outlets in a bid to add political power to their economic clout. However, Czech billionaire Petr Kellner’s purchase of Central European Media Enterprises (CME) may represent a new degree of danger to democracy. The EU approved the purchase of CME, which operates 30 TV [...]

COVID-19 adds to press freedom challenges in Malta

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on press freedom and independent journalism in Malta, the EU’s smallest member state. Key issues include a non-transparent system of providing public aid to media outlets, a restrictive attitude toward access to information, and delays in the public inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The [...]

Czech government must reverse exclusion of critical media from press conferences

The International Press Institute (IPI) was today joined by the partner organisation of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) in sending an open letter to the government of the Czech Republic raising concerns about its side-lining of critical media during press conferences. ----------------------------------- Dear Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Blatný, Minister [...]

Aumentano le violenze contro i giornalisti che in Italia documentano manifestazioni anti-lockdown

Leggi questa dichiarazione in inglese qui Il consorzio MFRR esprime seria preoccupazione per la scia di aggressioni, minacce di morte e intimidazioni ai danni di giornalisti e operatori dei media che in Italia si occupano di argomenti legati al Covid 19 e raccontano le proteste anti-lockdown. Nelle ultime tre settimane, il consorzio ha documentato almeno [...]

Italian journalists covering anti-lockdown protests face increasing violence

Read this statement in Italian here   The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today expresses our serious concern over the string of physical attacks, death threats and acts of intimidation against journalists and media workers covering issues related to COVID-19 and recent anti-lockdown protests across Italy. Over the last three weeks, MFRR partners have documented at [...]

Photojournalist Borut Živulovič hospitalised covering violent protests in Slovenia

The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned acts of violence towards journalists and media workers covering protests in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana last night and called for thorough police investigations to identify those responsible. On November 5, 2020, photojournalist Borut Živulovič, who works as a photographer for the agency Bobo and a freelancer for Reuters, was [...]

COVID-19 pandemic adds to Hungary’s transparency woes

Zur deutschen Version At a time of a global health crisis, it is vital that citizens have access to reliable and timely reporting. Honest and transparent official communication directed towards a vibrant and free media ecosystem could result in a balanced flow of information that raises awareness, increases public trust in the measures aimed to [...]

Baltic media, reinvigorated in their mission, buckle up for tough ride under COVID-19

Zur deutschen Version Just when it seemed that media outlets in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had stabilized their financial situation and were growing their revenues, the pandemic struck. The lockdown accelerated the digital transformation of larger media companies, while at the same time highlighting the vulnerabilities of smaller and regional media [...]

Right to information suffers further in Romania during pandemic

Zur deutschen Version In Romania, the right to access information is often an intricate affair for journalists and citizens alike. Testimonies written in the Bucharest and regional-based press depict arbitrary refusals from authorities to release the requested data, unjustified delays and convoluted bureaucratic procedures that often end up in court. The implications for fair and timely [...]

Rush to pass ‘fake news’ laws during Covid-19 intensifying global media freedom challenges

By IPI Advocacy Officer Jamie Wiseman Few terms have become so engrained in global political discourse in the last half decade than that of so-called “fake news.” The widely used yet ill-defined phrase has become a messy shorthand enveloping everything from social media rumours, to online political disinformation, to state-sponsored internet propaganda. With vastly different [...]

Germany: Rising attacks against journalists covering protests

The undersigned partners of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today express their concern about the increasing number of attacks against journalists across Germany, particularly in the context of anti-vaccine demonstrations. We call for better safety measures and protection as well as thorough investigations of attacks against journalists covering such demonstrations. Moreover, preventative measures are [...]