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EU calls for measure to protect journalists
Pic: Shutterstock

02 Nov 2023 / human rights Print

EU calls for measure to protect journalists

The European Commission has called on EU member states to implement its recommendation on the safety of journalists.

The call came in a statement issued ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November).

The recommendation, adopted in 2021, highlights the importance of ensuring the safety of journalists and media professionals within the EU.

High Representative Josep Borrell (pictured) and Vice-President Věra Jourová also called on EU members to “swiftly” adopt legislative proposals aimed at strengthening protection for journalists – including a Media Freedom Act and proposals aimed at tackling SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation).

Unresolved cases

The commission cited figures from independent organisations that show an impunity rate of 80% for murders of journalists over recent years.

“As of October 2023, the UNESCO Observatory on killed journalists documents 688 ongoing and unresolved cases concerning the murder of journalists,” the EU body said.

In their joint statement, the two commissioners condemned killings, physical attacks, arbitrary detentions, online and offline intimidation, harassment, and surveillance faced by journalists.

“The EU remains committed to support independent journalists and media workers everywhere. We will continue to mobilise all the diplomatic tools at our disposal to raise attention to individual cases of journalists in detention or at risk,” they said.

The commission statement also called for the establishment of national frameworks for the safety of journalists that include awareness-raising, prevention, protection, and prosecution elements, “with an attention to include specific measures for women journalists and those belonging to minority groups”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that, in the current Israel-Gaza conflict, 31 journalists are confirmed dead: 26 Palestinian, four Israeli, and one Lebanese.

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