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Lunchtime Talk: Is press freedom at risk?

The principle of media freedom is enshrined in European democracies. The EBU considers it an essential part of media policy and strongly supports various initiatives to guarantee this freedom, such as the Investigative Journalism Network. It also organizes a cycle of events focused on news throughout the month of November, such as the annual News Xchange event, the publication of a News Report entitled "50 ways to make it better" and its activities to tackle disinformation.

Several legislative measures are however currently being considered at EU level which may endanger this principle and prevent journalists from doing their jobs in the best conditions. Editorial confidentiality is threatened by the draft Regulation on eEvidence; the proposed Directive on Whistleblowers, whilst a welcome move, could put at risk the privileged relationship between journalists and their sources.

The EBU brought together experts on the issue for a Media Lunchtime Talk on Thursday 22 November, to discuss how to best ensure that press freedom is protected.

We would like to thank the following speakers for their contribution:

  • Jochen Leufgens, News Editor of the Sport Political Department, ARD/WDR
  • Renate Schroeder, Director, European Federation of Journalists
  • Virginie Rozière, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur on the Whistleblowers    Directive proposal
  • Tania Schroeter, Deputy Head of Unit, Procedural criminal Law, DG JUST

Jochen Leufgens, journalist, shared his experience: "'LuxLeaks´, the ´Panama Papers´, the state sponsored Russian Doping system: We all know the big investigations. But it is not only the huge scandals that generate headlines across the globe that whistleblowers help reveal. So much more of our daily work is only being done because whistleblowers trust us with their information, from consumer fraud to immoral financial practices or corruption in office at global sporting federations. We can however only honor this trust if we are able to protect our sources through means like editorial secrecy. This is an indispensable cornerstone of democracy itself."




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