Mogens Jensen (Denmark, SOC), PACE's General Rapporteur on media freedom and safety of journalists, today expressed concern at the “progressive degradation of the media ecosystem”, speaking at the opening of a conference in Riga, during which the Council of Europe will launch its new Campaign for the Safety of Journalists.
The campaign, expected to last until 2027, aims to set a path for a safer, more independent, pluralistic media environment by encouraging States to put in place national mechanisms for ensuring the safety of journalists and the right to access information.
“The backdrop to this campaign is a series of too many threats against freedom of expression, including those which undermine free and pluralist media and the safety of journalists,” said Mr Jensen, recalling the “too many journalists who have been killed, in Europe and elsewhere, the hundreds of them who have been or are still jailed, and the thousands who have been victims of violence and harassment”.
He recalled that Council of Europe member States should not only refrain from interfering with the right to freedom of expression, but also have an obligation to ensure a safe and favourable environment for participation in public debate by everyone, without fear, even when their opinions run counter to those defended by the official authorities or significant parts of the public.
Yet, he said, “we have not been able to secure a friendly environment for media operators, journalists, human rights defenders, and we ought to do more as individual member States, and collectively as an Organisation, by supporting each other."
“I am sure that the Parliamentary Assembly will be pro-active in supporting the campaign and in contributing to its various operational steps,” Mr Jensen concluded.
This conference is organised in the framework of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, under the theme “The Pen is mightier than the sword? Meeting today’s challenges to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists”.