The EBU today became a partner to a Council of Europe platform designed to track alleged violations of media freedom in member states. The platform was set up by the Council of Europe to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland signed the partnership agreement at the EBU’s General Assembly where he was speaking to leading broadcasters on the essential role of public service media in modern democracies.
“I am pleased to welcome the EBU to the platform and I am convinced that this partnership will strengthen the impact of the Council of Europe in addressing media freedom challenges. As the leading alliance of public service media, the EBU has unique expertise, working for almost 70 years for and with broadcasters. Our two organisations share a conviction that public service media needs to secure its editorial independence and institutional autonomy”, said Thorbjørn Jagland at the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding.
EBU President Jean Paul Philippot said: “The Council of Europe is the guarantor of civil and human rights and freedom of expression throughout Europe and beyond. We are delighted to have them join us at our General Assembly and pleased to be able to support their efforts to protect journalists and an independent media.”
The EBU is the eleventh organisation to join the Platform which allows partners to issue alerts concerning threats to media freedoms. Once the alerts are issued, they are sent to the authorities of the concerned country and to the different Council of Europe institutions. The Council of Europe institutions may react publicly or start a dialogue on the issue with the authorities. Subsequently, responses of the member states and follow-up action taken by the different institutions are also posted on the platform.
Since April 2015, when the platform was launched, partner organisations have published 306 alerts concerning 35 countries. 82 alerts concern physical attacks on journalists, 70 alerts - detention and imprisonment of journalists, 14 impunity cases, 36 - harassment or intimidation of journalists, and 104 other acts that have a chilling effect on media freedom.
Partners of the Platform to date are the Association of European Journalists, Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the International Press Institute, the International News Safety Institute and the Rory Peck Trust.