This briefing note provides an update of press freedom violations documented in Europe since mid-May. It follows previous briefings published in April and May, which focused solely on the emerging Covid-19 crisis. With documented cases linked to the pandemic dropping in Europe in the last few weeks, this latest briefing expands to focus on all forms of violations. It also highlights key trends observed by members of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and presents key documents and reports from consortium members. It covers EU Members States, Candidate Countries and other European states.
As lockdowns have slowly lifted and restrictions have eased, MFRR partners have documented a steadily decline in the number of media freedom violations in Europe linked to Covid-19 in the last month.
The International Press Institutes’ Covid19 Tracker has recorded six separate media freedom violations linked to the pandemic during this time: one case of restrictions on access to information, one case of criminal investigation / charges, two cases of physical attack by public, and one case of verbal attack by authorities.
While this is a positive sign, the slowdown may be short lived and numerous other kinds of serious issues and incidents have been observed in the past month.
Several disturbing cases documented of journalists covering different kinds of protests and demonstrations being physically attacked, insulted or arrested, often resulting in injuries.
In the background, several states still have Freedom of Information (FOI) deadlines suspended or extended and disproportionate restrictions on access to information remain in place in many countries.
With the coming economic crisis and the threat of a second wave of infections, press freedom will face overlapping challenges in the coming months, requiring observant monitoring and strong action from EU institutions.
Here the full text of the briefing with violations country by country.