Tag Archives: Press freedom

Mogherini concerned with disinformation

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini (pictured) stepped forward with the declaration on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019. In the declaration a considerable attention has been devoted to the the problem of “disinformation”, especially in the context of the upcoming European elections.

“On World Press Freedom Day we celebrate the essential role of a free press not only as a conveyer of reliable and accurate news, but as a pillar of democracy. The quality of democratic processes is linked to the state of freedom of expression as well as media freedom and pluralism. There is no democracy without a truly free press.

“While bearing the great responsibility to guarantee checked and correct news to the public, free, diverse and independent media are at the very same basis of a pluralistic and open society. Investigative journalism fulfills a necessary watchdog role that assists the public in holding governments and institutions, at all level, accountable for their actions and obligations. However, we see more and more attempts to curb the space for free media, also by systematically undermining their credibility, and too many journalists have lost their lives or have put their lives at risk for having exposed inconvenient truths.

“This year’s 26th worldwide commemoration addresses the current challenges faced by the media in elections in times of disinformation, as well as the media’s potential to support democracy, peace and reconciliation. Disinformation has a high potential to negatively influence democratic processes and public debates all over the world, and the European Union makes no exception.

“This is why we have launched the ‘EU Action Plan against Disinformation’, that steps up the European response to strengthen the resilience of our societies against disinformation. The Plan focuses on improving detection of disinformation, coordinating and joining up actions by the Union and Member States, mobilising the private sector to deliver on its commitments, raising public awareness and empowering citizens. Healthy democracy relies on open, free and fair public debate and it is our duty to protect this space and not allow anybody to spread disinformation that fuels hatred, division, and mistrust in democracy.

“The EU is promoting free and fair media not only at home but also globally in our relations with third countries, including by providing funding for targeted projects that enhance quality journalism, press freedom and access to public information.  With free journalism under increasing pressure, the EU reaffirms its determination to defend press and media freedom within its borders and worldwide.”

Swiss ranked fifth in World Press Index

Switzerland has upgraded its place from seventh to fifth in this year’s World Press Freedom Index of 180 countries compiled by Reporters without Borders (RSF). However, the Swiss ascendance has taken place  in a deteriorating environment for journalists worldwide, including in Europe.

Prem Samy, responsible for the index at RSF, says there are two major reasons behind Swiss upgrade: “This year was a bit more optimistic for Switzerland, because the No Billag initiative, which was a threat to public TV and radio, was rejected by referendum,” he told swissinfo.ch.

The second reason is “purely mechanical”, Smay continued, because in the context of the countries like Costa Rica and Denmark dropping down, others move up.

While the “No Billag” initiative was a “threat that didn’t happen in the end”, Samy concluded the Swiss context “is still a bit dangerous in terms of pluralism and the restructuring that is coming, especially for ATS (the Swiss News Agency)”.

RSF says this year report reflects “growing animosity towards journalists” and the fact that “hostility towards the media from political leaders is no longer limited to authoritarian countries like Turkey and Egypt.”

“More and more democratically elected leaders see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion,” it continues.

METSOLA: MEPs demand protection of press

Roberta METSOLA MEP (EPP, Malta) shares her views on freedom of press in the EU in framework of the relevant debate during Strasbourg April Plenary session. MEPs express their concern with assassinations of investigation journalists in Europe, and demand governments for better protection of whistleblowers. They also insist on independent investigation, including recent case of murder of Slovak Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée Martina Kusnirovà. The resolution to be voted on Thursday, April 19.

 

World Press Fredom Day

World Press Freedom Day is marked every year on 3 May, but there is little reason to celebrate as journalists continue to be repressed and persecuted all over the world. The challenges facing the press are discussed by Parliament’s human rights subcommittee on Thursday morning, with a special focus on the growing threat of disinformation. .

The internet technologies have created new opportunities for the media, and greatest advantage in promoting democracy representing threat to authoritarian powers, resting on filtering news to manipulate public opinion.

IT technologies and social media cause the traditional mass media profound crisis in the leading democracies as the USA, where the president accuses mass media of misrepresenting his views, preferring social media, namely Twitter to communicate with the citizens.

During the debate on 4 May, members of the human rights subcommittee will discuss the World Press Freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders as well the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) activities in the field of media freedom and how the EU is reacting to disinformation and fake news.

“When we consider press freedom, we also have to look at the internet. It is a source of knowledge as much as it is a source of concern. Almost half of all Europeans get their news from social media. This has made spreading fake news far too easy. There are mounting concerns over disinformation and hate speech, used to promote radicalization and fundamentalism, particularly among young people,” – Parliament President Antonio Tajani called attention to the issue in a statement.