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William Horsley: 'Media freedom is violated in Europe'

“Media freedom is seriously violated in Europe,” today said William Horsley, Media Freedom Representative of the Association of European Journalists, at a hearing organised by PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. “In a number of Council of Europe member states, patterns of violence and legal abuses directed against journalists have taken root and threaten to stifle genuinely free and independent media in favour of a climate of censorship and intimidation,” he added.

According to PACE's General Rapporteur on the State of Media Freedom Mats Johansson (Sweden, EPP/DC), “Europe cannot accept that hundreds of journalists are prosecuted and dozens of them are detained in Turkey for alleged political crimes. It is unacceptable that independent journalists like Sergei Sokolov from Novaya Gazeta feel threatened by Russian authorities, which fail for years to shed light on the too numerous murders of journalists in Russia.”

He continued: “Many journalists in Europe are attacked physically or legally because they try to investigate misgovernment, political nepotism, corruption and organised crime. National parliaments and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly must do more to combat such violations of media freedom and remind member states of their legal obligations under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. If the European Court of Human Rights has a huge backlog of cases, it is not the Court that is inefficient, but member states have to be more effective in protecting human rights,” Mr Johansson concluded.

Mats Johansson will present his draft report with recommendations to the committee in October this year.