3 May 2011

Campaigns and Advocacy

IPI warns of new press freedom offenders


(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 29 April 2011 - On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on 3 May, the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), recalls that there is still a long way to go until media workers can enjoy press freedom. Threats, assaults, harassment and diverse types of pressure are part of a journalist's daily life in South, East and Central Europe.

In 2010, SEEMO registered 406 press freedom violations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine. These included different forms of threats made by email, letter, telephone, or in person, murders, physical assaults, bomb attacks, detentions and imprisonment, criminal charges, house arrests, political and economic pressures, as well as menacing warnings from religious leaders.

SEEMO did not always react publicly to these violations of press freedom: in some cases, journalists on the ground preferred result-oriented quiet diplomacy, rather than public protests. In those cases, SEEMO representatives met with government and political leaders in order to solve specific issues raised by journalists.

While the number of violations is not on the rise, the sources of threats have become increasingly diversified in comparison to previous years. In transition countries, politicians used to be the main source of threats and pressures. This is no longer the case. Nowadays, threats also come from business groups, often linked to mafia-style business dealings, religious organisations, actors, musicians, etc.

The above mentioned cases do not include other types of controls exerted on the media, such as inadequate media laws, pressure by media owners on editors and journalists, or blackmail by advertisers and other economic groups.

It is worth underlining that SEEMO has registered violations in the entire region. SEEMO-registered violations for 2010 do not include on-going court cases initiated against journalists before 2010. If these were added, the number of violations would amount to over 2,000 cases.

In addition, economic issues further complicate journalists' activities: obscure media ownership structures and hidden interests, problems with collective contracts or the lack of any contracts, as well as poor salaries. In some countries, below average salaries are used as a means to exert control over journalists.

"The fight for press freedom is a daily struggle. We still have a long way to go," declared Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

Source:

Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

 
More from Europe & Central Asia
  • DEMOCRACY AT RISK: THREATS AND ATTACKS AGAINST MEDIA FREEDOM IN EUROPE

    Annual Report 2019 by the Partner Organisations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists

  • Defamation and Insult Laws in the OSCE Region: A Comparative Study

    This study examines the existence of criminal defamation and insult laws in the territory of the 57 participating States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In doing so, it offers a broad, comparative overview of the compliance of OSCE participating States’ legislation with international standards and best practices in the field of defamation law and freedom of expression.

  • Journalists caught in the middle: Protests turn violent from France to Finland

    Violence against journalists in Europe increased in the second quarter of 2016, reports submitted to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform show, as a government crackdown in Turkey intensified and protests turned violent in countries from France to Finland.


At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
 
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.