In its inaugural year the MFRR, launched initially as a one-year pilot on 1 March 2020, has swiftly established itself as a critical mechanism to support journalists, media workers and outlets under attack. Building on comprehensive and systematic monitoring documented on Mapping Media Freedom, the project offers legal and practical support and public advocacy. In its first year of operation, the MFRR collected more than 403 alerts on violations of Media Freedom, produced 150 advocacy outputs, supported more than 50 journalists directly and conducted virtual missions to Spain, Poland and Serbia.

Pandemic emergency

“The continuation of the Media Freedom Rapid Response is a win for journalists and journalism in Europe. The project combines the strengths of seven organisations to protect reporters and push for citizens’ right to be properly informed. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that professional journalism saves lives,” says Lutz Kinkel, Managing Director of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.

“Now, in the second year of the MFRR, we will have to deal with the political consequences of the pandemic. We have to make sure that ‘emergency regimes’ and their restrictions of media freedom will end. With regard to practical support, we will pay even more attention to women journalists and media workers and reporters working for local outlets, because they are the most vulnerable groups.”

The MFRR is implemented by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), comprised of ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), the International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBC Transeuropa). A description of all services provided can be found on www.mfrr.eu.