Concern about the situation of the media and journalists in many European countries

The PACE Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media today highlighted the large number of cases of threats and attacks against journalists and media outlets reported to the Council of Europe through the Platform it set up in 2015 to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists.

The report prepared by Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD) and adopted by the committee indicates that from April 2015 to November 2016, the Platform recorded 230 alerts in 31 member states – 95 of those alerts had received an official reply by the State concerned and 23 cases had been resolved, while a total of 16 journalists had been killed over the period.

The committee expressed concern, in particular, about the situation of the media and journalists in Turkey and called on the Turkish authorities “to release from detention all journalists who have not been indicted for actively participating in terrorist acts” and to “review the emergency decrees” as far as they order the arrest of writers, journalists and editors and the seizure of media companies. According to the parliamentarians, the situation is also worrying in the Crimean peninsula occupied by Russia, eastern Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The text adopted states that there is also no media freedom in other territories of member States which are controlled de facto by separatist regimes, namely in Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia of Georgia and Transnistria of the Republic of Moldova.

The committee further states that governments and parliaments must not interfere in the management and editorial work of public broadcasters, which should establish in-house codes of conduct for journalistic work and editorial independence from political influence.

Lastly, the committee recommended that the Committee of Ministers allocate adequate resources for the functioning of the Platform, allowing for targeted follow-up to the alerts.